Pull up a chair and bring your appetite because South Florida’s stone crab season officially opens Saturday, Oct. 15.
But there are some strict rules for recreational and commercial fishermen who can hunt for the tasty crustaceans in state and federal waters.
▪ When catching catch a crab the claws can be removed, but throw back the crab;
▪ Crabs must be captured in baited traps, declawed and released;
▪ Egg bearing females cannot be declawed;
▪ No hooks or spears are allowed;
▪ Stone crab claws must be at least 2 ¾ inches in length to be harvested legally;
▪ Round entrances (also known as throats or funnels) are not allowed for stone crab traps in state or federal waters off Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties;
▪ There is a recreational daily bag limit of 1 gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less.
An interesting tidbit about stone crab claws is that they are the only renewable resource from the water. Crabbers are asked to take only one claw from each crab, which is then regenerated over time. A crab that is returned to the water with one claw intact is able to get more food in a shorter amount of time and therefore regrow its claw faster.
The season runs through May 15.
Click here for a complete list of rules and regulations from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.