Stone crab season closes May 16 in Florida

A load of stone crab is weighed at Ernest Hamilton's Stone Crab in Everglades City. 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.

Photo by SCOTT MCINTYRE // Buy this photo

A load of stone crab is weighed at Ernest Hamilton's Stone Crab in Everglades City. 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.

Locals Esperanza and Diana Valdez show off their stone crabs. The Everglades Seafood Festival turned with 40 this year, with tens of thousands packing the tiny town of Everglades City for music, food, rides, games and fun all weekend. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Locals Esperanza and Diana Valdez show off their stone crabs. The Everglades Seafood Festival turned with 40 this year, with tens of thousands packing the tiny town of Everglades City for music, food, rides, games and fun all weekend. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

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.

Commercially harvested stone crab claws may be possessed and sold during the closed season but only if they have been placed in inventory prior to May 16 by a licensed wholesale or retail dealer.

Stone crab traps must be removed from the water within five days after the close of the stone crab season unless a special extension is granted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Learn more about the stone crab harvest season by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing.

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