Stone Crab season bleak in Florida Keys

Stone Crab
Posted at 2:06 PM, Dec 19, 2012

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — Commercial fishermen in the Florida Keys say their stone crab season looks bleak.

Prices for claws are high, but fishermen say their harvests since the season's Oct. 15 opening are very small.

Keys Fisheries in Marathon is one of the state's leading wholesalers for stone crabs. General manager Gary Graves tells The Miami Herald that big harvests should be around 15,000 pounds of claws. Instead, fishermen are only seeing 1,000-pound harvests.

A local community group canceled its annual stone crab feast because no claws could be bought.

Last season, Monroe County produced about 1.1 million pounds of legal-size claws.

This season ends May 15. Elsewhere in Florida, Gulf Coast fishermen say an octopus population explosion has jeopardized its stone crab catch. The crab is a favorite food of octopus.