Are Stone Crabs a Sustainable Food Source
Stone crabs are arguably one of the world's most delicious, delicate seafood delights. Their tender flavor sets them apart from other crabs in the ocean, and their ability to regenerate claws makes them unique, and they are one of the most sustainable foods you can find. Let's look at stone crab claw regeneration and why crab sustainability should be important to crab enthusiasts everywhere.
STONE CRAB SUSTAINABILITY INFORMATION
Stone crab claws are famous for their enormous size and sweet, tender meat. Best of all, stone crab claws regenerate if harvested properly, so the crab can continue to live and thrive in the ocean while providing us with a delicious, sustainable food source. There are many laws in place that are strictly enforced to ensure that stone crab claw harvesting methods are safe and ethical, making them one of the most sustainable food sources in the world. What's better than delicious meat that you can eat guilt-free?
HOW ARE STONE CRAB CLAWS HARVESTED?
Stone crab claws are harvested between mid-October and the first of May. Fishers catch crabs and remove claws of legal size (at least 2 7/8"). This method is precise, so each stone crab is treated ethically and given the best opportunity to continue living a healthy life after harvest. Once the claw is removed, the crab is released into the ocean again, where its claw will slowly regenerate back to its original size.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A STONE CRAB TO REGROW ITS CLAW?
So, do crabs grow their claws back? Well, not all crabs do, but stone crabs are unique. Stone crabs will go through a few molts before their claw grows back. Younger crabs molt more quickly, and their claws can regenerate in just a few months! Adult crabs can take up to a year to regenerate the previously harvested claw. Since stone crabs typically live up to nine years, a harvested claw can easily grow back to its original size.
STONE CRAB SUSTAINABILITY FAQS
Stone crabs are amazing, and their enormous claws are juicy, succulent, and sweet. Here are some FAQs about these crustaceans and stone crab claw regeneration.
WHEN CAN I HARVEST STONE CRAB CLAWS?
Florida allows stone crabs to be harvested between October 15th and May 1st each year.
HOW ARE STONE CRAB CLAWS MEASURED?
To harvest a stone crab claw, it must be at least 2 7/8" in length from the bend in the claw to its tip. This is referred to as the propodus.
WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS ON FEMALES WITH EGGS?
It is illegal to harvest claws from a stone crab that is carrying eggs. These ovigerous females are easy to spot, and fishers are trained to turn each crab upside down to inspect its underside. If the sponge containing her eggs is seen, the female must be carefully placed back into the water unharmed. If left out of the water, she can drop her sponge and lose her eggs.
HOW LONG DO STONE CRABS LIVE?
Stone crabs molt frequently, and age is determined based on how often they molt. It is believed that males can live around seven or eight years, while females live up to nine years, and stone crab regeneration can happen in under one year of its life.
HOW MANY EGGS DOES AN OVIGEROUS FEMALE CARRY?
An ovigerous female is a stone crab carrying a sponge full of eggs. Typically, the number of eggs is related to the size of the female stone crab. A small female can carry tens of thousands of eggs in a sponge at one time, while a large stone crab can carry, impressively, up to one million eggs in a sponge. A female can produce several sponges each season, thus producing several million eggs.
BILLY'S STONE CRAB FOR THE FRESHEST SEAFOOD IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA!
Billy's Stone Crab proudly operates two fish houses in the Florida Keys with a fleet of over 40 boats. Each boat collects stone crab, lobster, and fish daily to supply customers with fresh seafood from start to finish. Our online shop offers a variety of seafood, including stone crabs, snapper filets, grouper, oysters, clams, and steaks.