Recreational Stone-Crabbing in Florida
Curious about how we fish for the stone crabs we serve? We follow the rules of regulations of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Commission allows anyone with a recreational fishing license to possess 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less.
Did you know…?
Fishers are actually only allowed to harvest the claws, the crab must always be released unharmed.
Crabs, like other crustaceans, can grow back their claws, however, this takes energy which comes in the form of food. It is therefore best practice to harvest only one claw to allow the crab to maintain the other one as a defend mechanism and to make it easier for them to feed themselves.
Regeneration in adult crabs takes one year due to the seasonal molting of adult females in fall and adult males in winter. The regenerated claws start out smaller than the original and will continue to grow through subsequent molts. After three molts (three years in adult crabs) a claw can regain 95 percent of its original size.
There are two methods to catch stone crabs:
- Set up traps
- Dive for them
Regulations for both can be found at a multiple of online resources for Florida. Some of these regulations may include instructions for the types of traps needed and allowed, or where to dive to find the best crabs.
The minimum claw size is 2 3/4 inches measured from the lower tip or “finger” to the first elbow joint. No claws may be taken from egg bearing females. Often only a minor twist of the claw will cause the crab to release it.
In Florida, stone crab season is from October 15 through May 15. However, Billy’s offers stone crabs year-round! It is important to us to attain to the rules and regulations of crab fishing. No crabs are killed in this process!
To learn more, check out: http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/crustaceans/stone-crabs/faq