Tag Archives: stone crab season

‘The Worst I’ve Ever Seen It’: Lean Stone Crab Season Follows Red Tide in Florida

On a good day, in a good year, a captain fishing off the shores of the Florida Everglades might catch 400 pounds of one of the state’s unrivaled delicacies, the stone crab. These are not good days. As the sun began to set on a recent cloudless afternoon, the kind that makes it unthinkable to spend winters anywhere but in Florida, Rick Collins piloted the High Cotton to a dock in Everglades City, the fishing village where three generations of his family have made a living trapping stone crab. His crew offloaded the day’s haul onto a huge scale. Seventy-three pounds. “This is about the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Mr. Collins, 69, a crabber for more than half a century. >click to read<13:37

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

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

How stone crab season survived a hurricane

The lobster season ended for many before it really had much of a chance to begin. But for those who fish both stone crabs and lobster, high market prices for stone crabs and steady production this season, which ends this week, was what they needed to stay afloat after Irma. The hurricane had displaced or destroyed anywhere from half to a third of the 350,000 lobster traps fished in the Keys during the season that runs from Aug. 6 to March 31. “It wasn’t a great season, and it wasn’t a terrible season,” George Niles, Lower Keys commercial trap fisherman said,,, >click to read<16:46

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

Stone crabbers get ready for Saturday’s first pull of season

It might not be ideal stone crabbing weather, but the Meschelles are pulling their traps on Saturday no matter what. “My son said, ‘We’re going out Saturday, darn it, even if it’s windy,’ ” said Sheila Meschelle, who has been stone crabbing with her son, Nathan, and husband, Todd, for the past four years. Nathan Meschelle started crabbing in high school with a childhood friend’s dad and went straight into commercial fishing after he graduated. It’s a labor of love for the family, who take their 30-foot crabbing boat out each year to bring in the precious claws for diners across Florida. Stone crab season starts on Saturday and runs through May 15. Last year’s season was anything but a disappointment for crabbers and restaurateurs. At one point, the Meschelles were required to take days off because they were bringing in such a haul. Read the story here 09:15

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

Anna Maria crabber vs. shark fisher debate begins

am-shark-prohibition-hackney-012016-trIt was a standing-room only meeting, as attendees filled the seats inside the chambers and filled the hallway. Anthony Manali, a stone crabber and owner of Captain Anthony’s Stone Crab Store, was the first to speak. “I don’t care if you shark fish,” Manali said. “You can shark fish all you want. But that inside line on the beach has historically been where we make most of our income at the beginning of the stone crab season. It’s very important for us to be there.” Manali had brought the stone crab issue to the commission in December, saying late-night shark fishers were destroying many of his stone crab traps. Manali valued his loss — traps and potential catch over several years — at $40,000. Read the article here 08:53:

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

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

FLORIDA KEYS – Stone Crab Prices Putting The Pinch On Wallets – many Florida Keys commercial fishermen are struggling

(Source: CBS4 / Al Sunshine)FLORIDA KEYS (CBSMiami) – Just two months into stone crab season, many Florida Keys commercial fisherman are struggling or even giving up, despite skyhigh prices for stone-crab claws. Read More