Stone Crab Season began in Florida state waters yesterday, and while this sweet succulent meat is allowed to be harvested until May, there are a few things you need to know.
Minimum Size Limit
Stone crab claws must measure at least 2 ¾ inches in length. Learn how to measure them properly HERE.
Daily Bag Limit
Individuals are allowed to harvest 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons of claws per vessel, whichever is less.
How to Harvest
The claws are the only part to be taken from a stone crab, as they grow back when separated from the body properly. The law permits both claws to be harvested if they are of legal size, but it is courtesy to only harvest one claw per crab. This practice leaves the crab with a method of defense, and helps them obtain larger amounts of food to grow back their lost claw quickly.
To harvest the claw, wearing gloves hold on firmly to the body of the crab with one hand. With the other hand, hold onto the claw as close to the body as possible, then snap the claw off in a lever-like motion.
It is illegal to use any device that can puncture, crush, or injure the crab body, such as spears, grains, grabs, hooks, or similar devices. The legal gear for a stone crab is to use a box trap, or a dip or landing net.
Stone crab traps are allowed, but each individual is only allowed a maximum of five traps. Among required detailed specifications, traps must be pulled manually, during daylight hours, and must not be placed in any navigational channels or intracoastal waterways. If your trap is fished from a dock, buoys are not required.