Tag Archives: stone crab

Crabbers remember horrors of red tide. They’re hoping for a better season this year

Born and raised in Cortez, Lightning Campbell has fished and crabbed the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for most of his 72 years. With memories still fresh of how last year’s red tide outbreak drastically affected the stone crab harvest, Campbell says he will put out 4,000 stone crab traps this season. Asked what he thinks about prospects for this year’s stone crab harvest, which begins Tuesday, Campbell says it’s too early to tell. >click to read< 09:05

Hit-or-miss hauls end another unpredictable Florida stone crab season

“We knew guys who were fishing 500 traps and would catch less than six or seven pounds,” Gandy said. “Lots of (crabbers) just didn’t do it this year.” Meanwhile, those crabbing to the north, from around New Port Richey to the panhandle, saw some giant hauls, especially early in the season, which started in October. The director of one commercial fishing association described Florida’s season overall as “pretty disastrous,” unless you were between Hudson and Crystal River where “they were breaking records.” “What’s crazy is the rest of the world had a horrible crab season,” >click to read<12:57

How was the stone crab season? Good in the Keys, but rough in other parts of Florida

Florida Keys and Miami fishermen fared much better than their colleagues on the west coast of the state during this year’s stone crab season, but production varied depending on where they fished in South Florida, the head of the Keys commercial fishing trade association said. Wednesday was the last day of the eight-month season, which began in October. “Supply was good, prices were high and demand was strong,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association. But a persistent red tide algae bloom that plagued the Gulf>click to read<16:48

Start of stone crab season in Cortez is worst in recent memory

Theories abound but one thing is for sure: The current stone crab season is off to one of its worst starts in recent memory for the oldest active fishing village in Florida. It’s that bad. “There’s nothing. There’s no crabs around because it’s all dead,” said John Banyas, a fourth-generation fisherman from Cortez.“The latest from our 400 trap haul was only 4 pounds, a record low in these local waters,” said Banyas, 52, who is also the owner of Cortez Bait & Seafood Inc., Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bar and Cortez Kitchen. >click to read<07:42

Disappointing early catches for area stone crabbers

The fishermen started putting their traps into the water on Oct. 5, and on Oct. 15, they began to legally harvest the first of the season’s claws and offer them for sale. With disappointing early catches from the first few days of pulling the traps, the crabbers will leave the traps in the Gulf longer to give the crabs time to fill them, said Pat Kirk of Kirk Fish Company in Goodland. Her husband, Damas Kirk, is a fifth-generation local fisherman, whose great aunt was Tommie Barfield, an icon in Marco Island history. Damas Kirk said the local crabbers are in serious need of finding and harvesting a bountiful catch. “These guys are needing a paycheck pretty bad right now,” he said >click to read<18:11

Stone crab season off to promising start in Florida Keys

The state’s stone crab fishery should expect to take a hit this season from the red tide algae bloom that’s been plaguing Florida’s west coast for months, but the Keys, which accounts for 65 percent of the harvest of the sought-after claws, does not appear to be affected. The eight-month commercial season began Monday, with fishermen pulling traps that have been soaking for the past 10 days. Monday afternoon, boats were still coming back from the water, but Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association, said captains were reporting a promising first day. >click to read<20:58

Lobster harvest takes a hit – Numbers starting to normalize after down season

The 2017-18 lobster season could produce half the expected harvest because of Hurricane Irma, and stone crab numbers are likely to suffer as well. “Harvest levels are returning to normal,” says Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association Executive Director Billy Kelly, but estimates that commercial lobster fisherman lost “six to eight weeks of their best production” to the storm. In total, the 2017-2018 season could yield 2-1/2 million pounds or less of lobster, an estimate Kelly says is half the expected amount. For stone crab numbers,,, >click here to read< 12:38

Where have the stone crabs gone? Shortage of Florida delicacy drives up prices

Less than halfway through Florida’s lucrative stone crab season, traps are drying up, dealing another blow to a fishing industry still recovering from a beating delivered by a brutal Hurricane Irma. “Everybody’s feeling it,” said Walter Flores, owner of the Golden Rule Seafood in Palmetto Bay, which has been selling and serving stone crabs since 1943. Normally Flores starts taking orders for holiday crabs about now. But this year, he said, it’s first come, first serve.  “We have them,” he said, “but you have to offer more money to get them. It’s almost a bidding war.” click here to read the story 09:00

Stone crab season in SWFL

Stone Crab season is in its fifth week, and crabbers say the beginning was a bit rough. Frank Rogues is a master crab catcher for Pinchers restaurants and said typically, 400 pounds of stone claw crab is the yield from a successful day, however, this year that number was reduced to about 100 pounds for the first few weeks the season. “You go out there and you spend a lot of money to set up a gear,” Rogues said, “which is quite expensive to do that, and you do that, and you’re not even making fuel money. That’s pretty tough.” click here to read the story 18:17

Stone crab season opens Sunday — but will the hurricane affect the haul?

But the big question this year is how abundant — and how expensive — the claws will be a month after a hurricane wrecked a huge swath of the fishing areas in the Florida Keys. Fresh Florida spiny lobster was hard to find in the last month, after the trapping industry bore Hurricane Irma’s brunt. The storm scattered and destroyed tens of thousands of lobster traps as the Keys’ fishing industry — the second-largest economic driver in Monroe County at more than $150 million — was paralyzed for three weeks. “What did Hurricane Irma do to the stone crab haul? We’re going to find out,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association. click here to read the story 11:23

Stock Island Fishermen bank on stone crab to salvage season

Commercial trap fishermen are banking on a healthy stone crab season to help cover losses from a shaky start to spiny lobster season that was more than disrupted by Hurricane Irma. Fishermen will start pulling their traps for stone crab season and harvesting crab claws on Sunday. The season runs through May 15.  Thousands of spiny lobster traps were either destroyed, damaged or moved several miles when Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, a little more than a month after the lobster season started.  On Tuesday, commercial fishermen Justin Martin and Patrick Brennan loaded stone crab traps onto a boat at the docks off Front Street on Stock Island. click here to read the story 08:01

After Irma: Storms leave lobsters, stone crab seasons underwater

The Florida Keys have re-opened, but Capt. Billy Niles and his fellow lobster fishermen have to find their traps before they are really back in business. “We’re locating them, but it takes a while,” said Niles, a veteran of the Keys lobster trade for the past seven decades. “Some storms lose more than others.” Irma lost plenty of them. Or better said, the Keys lost plenty in Irma. In the lobster sector, said to be the Keys second most-important industry, the damage is underwater. click here to read the story 09:12

Coppertail releases beer that yes, seriously, has stone crab in it

Offering further evidence that there’s nothing craft brewers won’t incorporate into a beer, Tampa’s own Coppertail Brewing marked Friday the 13th with the release of its Captain Jack’s Stone Crab Stout, an “unconventionally flavored” brew that pays tribute to both Florida’s annual stone crab harvesting season and the anglers that brave the slightly colder winter waves in search of those delicious crustacean claws. And yeah, Captain Jack’s is literally made with stone crabs. What’s more, a portion of sales proceeds will be donated to the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association “to promote sustainable fishing, and to help preserve the way of life of Florida fishermen.” Read the story here 12:16

Red tide clears off Collier County, but stone crab catch still down

The red tide lingering on Florida’s Gulf coast last fall and this winter has cleared up in Collier County. Fish kills were reported in December in Collier, but the algae blooms that bring thousands of dead fish to shore and cause beachgoers to cough and sneeze have, for the most part, stayed north in Pinellas and Sarasota counties, according to a report Friday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Clearer water would be good news for the price of stone crabs and for local stone crab fisherman, who were hammered early this season by a red tide that followed Hurricane Matthew in October. The fewer crabs caught, the higher the market price for Southwest Florida’s most popular seafood. Catch totals are still down in Goodland compared with typical years, said Damas Kirk, of Kirk Fish Co. “Red tide isn’t showing so much anymore, but I think it’s done some damage,” Kirk said. “I think the stone crabs are having a bit of a food supply issue and are starving somewhat.” Read the story here 15:50

Stone crab season not a good one for crabbers

635987462540843095-Stonecrab2Daniel Doxsee turns the Miss Chloe Ann toward the docks behind Kirk Fish Co. in Goodland and turns his attention to next year’s stone crab season. This one has been tough. They’ve hauled in plenty of claws in Florida — 2.5 million pounds and still counting — but a combination of weather and lower demand has kept prices down, and crabbers have felt the pinch. “It’s nice to catch the pounds, but if you don’t have the price to go with it, it’s kind of a kick in the ass, so to speak,” said Doxsee, 35, whose commercial fishing family is the namesake of the Doxsee Clam Factory, which opened in 1910 on Marco Island. Kirk Fish Co. handled about the same number of pounds of stone crab claws this season, which began Oct. 15, as they did last season, about 70,000 pounds. But low prices meant fishermen got about $4 less per pound, said Patty Kirk, the do-it-all wholesale manager at Kirk Fish Co. That’s about a 25 percent loss, she said. Read the rest here  17:56

Stone crab season to start

Commercial fishermen have begun to splash their stone crab traps in preparation of the opening of the season on Thursday. Fishermen can drop their pots 10 days before season starts. Season runs from Oct. 15 to May 15. “We have scattered them out over the Gulf (of Mexico),” said Middle Keys commercial fisherman Gary Nichols, who put out 9,500 traps in three days. “I’m pretty excited about it. The crab bycatch in the lobster traps looks good.” Read the rest here 08:29

Kirk Fish Co. rides out another stone crab season in Goodland

Goodland’s afternoon stickiness pushes through the doorway of the fish house where Patty Kirk is hand-mixing her umpteenth batch of mustard sauce. It’s May 11, a Monday, four days before the end of stone crab season. She’s been at it every day since October 15, save the Sundays after Easter, alongside her husband, Damas, 61, and their 24-year-old daughter, Kelly. Where stone crabs are king, the stone crabbing Kirks are royalty. Video, read the rest here  09:52

Stone-crab harvest looks healthy, prices booming

stone crab season, kevin wadlowFishermen are still pulling traps in the final two weeks of stone-crab season, but early indications suggest a step toward a return to normal harvests. “Late-season production has stepped up which could bring us close to a number in the range of a normal season,” Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said Tuesday. Stone-crab season opens Oct. 15 and closes May 15. Last season’s commercial harvest of a reported 1.9 million pounds of claws (the only part of stone crabs harvested),,, Read the rest here 14:41

Slow start to stone crab season

Fishermen are still awaiting the first real cold snap to get the stone crabs out of their hiding holes and into the traps. Conch Key fishermen Gary Nichols called the season “mediocre” so far. “It still has not been good, but the prices have been decent,” Nichols said. Read the rest here 08:29

Stone-crab season starts Wednesday

When it comes to claws, there could be cause for cheer: Stone-crab season opens Wednesday, with commercial fishermen seeking the legal-size claws that rank as Monroe County’s most lucrative harvest after spiny lobster. “No one ever knows for sure until the first pull of the season, but we do have some things that are looking good,” Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said Friday. Read the rest here 17:46

One of the worst stone crab seasons on record in Southwest Florida – video

It’s shaping up to be one of the worst stone crab seasons on record in Southwest Florida. Fishermen say octopi are stealing the crabs right out of their traps. A crab trap is like a diner for an octopus. The crabs can’t go anywhere, so an octopus can go to town eating everything in the trap. Read more here 20:47

Commercial stone crab fishing is off to a horrendous start this year – Fewer crabs, higher prices for claws

“It has been a disastrous start,” Key Fisheries owner Gary Graves said. “It is the highest prices on record. But the catch has been horrible. I am not very confident that this going to be a good year.” [email protected] 06:18

Man eats 25 crab claws in 17 min. in Keys contest

Alfredo Munoz of Moses Lake cracked and consumed 25 claws in 17 minutes and 35 seconds during Saturday’s contest that attracted more than 50 competitors at Keys Fisheries restaurant. [email protected]  11:10

Florida Stone Crab Season Begins October 15, 2013

Florida Stone Crab season begins on October 15, 2013.  Here are the Stone Crab regulations per the Florida Fish and Wildlife website. [email protected]  10:09

Stone crab season closes May 16 in Florida

The commercial and recreational harvest of stone crab claws in Florida closes on May 16, with the last day of harvest on May 15. This closure occurs each year during the species’ peak spawning season to help protect and sustain Florida’s valuable stone crab resource. Stone crab season will reopen on Oct. 15. continued

Florida Stone-crabs: Harvest down, prices way up this year

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — In 46 years as a commercial fisherman, Gary Graves says he has never seen a stone crab harvest season as poor as this one. Graves, who runs Keys Fisheries in Marathon — the main supplier for Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach — says his catches are down 40 percent since the season opened Oct 15. continued

Stone crab season to help commercial fishermen – MARATHON, Fla – WTSP.com

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s commercial fishermen are hoping winter visitors will flock to the Sunshine State for stone crab season. Gary Graves is vice president of Keys Fisheries, the largest processor of the crab’s tasty claws in the Florida Keys. He says a strong winter tourism season for the state normally translates into higher fiscal yields for the commercial fishing industry. Read More

http://www.wtsp.com/news/florida/article/278047/19/Stone-crab-season-to-help-commercial-fishermen