The recreational season for stone crab, the only truly sustainable marine resource in the United States, opened Oct. 15.
Unlike other species of crustaceans that must be killed to be eaten, the stone crab’s tasty, meat-filled claw can be taken without injuring the animal.
Most stone crabs have one claw that is larger than the other. The large crushing claw, the one most prized for the dinner table, is the animal's principal weapon. A fully developed crab is strong enough to crush clams and oysters, so imagine what it can do to an index finger.
Most recreational crabbers scuba dive for crabs around local bridges. But low visibility and strong currents can be dangerous, making this advisable for experienced divers only.
Florida law requires crabbers to have a saltwater fishing license -- go to www.myfwc.com for details. It is unlawful to take claws from females bearing eggs, which should be visible under the crab. The use of hooks, spears or other devices that crush or injure the crab's body also are prohibited.
The recreational daily bag limit is one gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less. The season closes May 16, 2014.