Florida stone crab season off to a slow start

stone crabs
Posted at 3:32 PM, Dec 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-16 15:32:00-05

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - Florida's stone crab season has been disappointing so far, with retailers unable to procure more than a couple pounds of the delectable crustacean claws.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that since the season opened on Oct. 15 crab traps have been coming up mostly empty.

State wildlife officials say the crabs are driven by cold fronts, and that there hasn't been a significant one in the Florida Keys where many crustaceans are caught.

Hurricane Irma also rattled Florida's southwest, leading some to blame the disruption for the season's slow start. Stone crab season ends May 15.

Stone crab claws can be legally harvested and the crabs returned to the water when the claw is 2 3/4 -inch. It takes about three years for the crab to regrow its claw.