Stone Crabbing in the Florida Keys

You’ll find the world’s most delicious seafood hidden in holes on the ocean floor.stone crabsStone crabs look like crabs on steroids. Their claws are powerful enough to break an oyster shell, so I can only imagine what they can do to a finger. It only takes one bite of that sweet, succulent meat to understand why anyone would want to handle them.

Most fishermen trap stone crabs, but a crazy few prefer to catch them by hand. Either way, you can only harvest claws at least 2.75 inches long, and the crab goes back in the water. They regenerate the lost claw since they can release claws on their own as a defense mechanism. This, along with very strict regulations, make them uniquely sustainable.  clawsIf you’re willing to handle a live one, a pair of gloves is a must. Two pairs is not a bad idea. They burrow into surprisingly small holes by tucking in those big claws and climbing in sideways. They can’t extend the claws once they’re inside the hole. If you reach in to grab them, you’ll feel the elbow first. Once you pull them out, scoop them up in a lobster net, then bounce them around so the claws extend. Here’s how to remove a claw without harming the crabstonecrabIt’s exciting to watch, but I’ve never had the nerve to stick my hand inside a burrow. This year I followed the guys with a GoPro and I finally made my first movie! I take full responsibility for the shaky video and choppy editing, but you should reserve one rotten tomato for my stepdad, because he came up with the title. 

You’ll see him cracking the claws with one of these devices, being careful not to crush the shell into the meat. crackingTo find out how to cook them and make my mom’s stone crab sauce (better than Joe’s!) check out this post.  btandfinnDig in. 

4 Comments Stone Crabbing in the Florida Keys

  1. Matt October 20, 2016 at 8:39 am

    that looks like an amazing time. excellent post and video

    1. suwanneerose October 20, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Thanks, Matt! We’re having a blast. They’re catching us a feast every day.

  2. nicole October 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

    What a great annual tradition we have in Florida! I love your Beautiful pics 🙂

    1. suwanneerose October 21, 2016 at 8:51 am

      I feel lucky every time we visit Big Pine Key. It’s fun to be with my family and it sure is beautiful here!

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