Poor stone crab season driving up prices

Stone crab claws await customers at the Truluck's booth at the Snow Crab Festival at Bayfront in October 2011 in Naples.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

Stone crab claws await customers at the Truluck's booth at the Snow Crab Festival at Bayfront in October 2011 in Naples.

MIAMI — A poor stone crab harvest is driving up the price of the seafood delicacy.

Commercial fishermen across Florida say they've never seen a season as bad as the one that began Oct. 15. And a poor harvest means higher prices at restaurants.

The Miami Herald reports they're holding daily "crab meetings" at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach to figure out how to manage the lower inventory. Stephen Sawitz says they're promoting other products, such as Alaskan crab legs.

Gary Graves — owner of Keys Fisheries in Marathon and one of Joe's main suppliers — says catches are down 40 percent. In a normal year each of his boats average 250 to 300 pounds of stone crabs per trip. Recently, they averaged less than 200 pounds of stone crabs

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