Fresh Florida Stone Crabs
Known throughout the world, Florida Stone Crabs are a delicious seafood specific to our area.
The Florida Stone Crab is a delicious sustainable food which is caught locally right off our coast. The Florida stone crab loses its limbs easily to escape from predators or tight spaces, but their limbs will grow back. When a claw is broken such that the diaphragm at the body/claw joint is left intact, the wound will quickly heal itself and very little blood is lost. This greatly increases the chance of survival for the creature and enough time to grow back another claw for the next season. The meat of the Florida Stone Crab is tender, has a very low level of fats and it offers a very interesting tasting experience. Stone Crabs are also a good source of protein, selenium and magnesium. The best way to eat stone crabs is cold. Warm stone crabs have an iodine aftertaste, but cold stone crabs don’t. Before being eaten, the cold crabs are cracked and then served with Billy’s Signature Mustard Sauce on the side.
All of the stone crab claws on the market come from wild fisheries, making this product a true natural seafood item. The Florida stone crab is usually fished near jetties, oyster reefs or other rocky areas. The bodies of stone crabs are generally on the small side and so are rarely eaten. Instead, just the claws (chelae), which are large and strong enough to break an oyster’s shell, are harvested and eaten. Harvesting is accomplished by removing a single claw from the live animal and returning it to the ocean where it can regrow the lost limb. Making sure the claw is broken in the right place is critical to minimize blood loss and ensure a higher chance of survival when the animal is returned to the sea. To be kept, claws must be 2.75 inches (70 mm) long, measured from the tips of the immovable finger to the first joint. However, mortality rates are 47% for doubly-amputated crabs and 28% for single amputees. Stone crabs are only legal to harvest during the season and the Florida stone crab season runs from October 15 until May 15.
The good news is that the stone crab population levels are estimated to be high and as of now, no overfishing is happening. This can be partially attributed to the unique process by which stone crab claws are harvested. Taking only a single claw provides the crab with a much better chance of survival when it is returned and helps ensure the long-term sustainability of the species.
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