Stone Crab season opening date, October 15th, 2019

Posted by Lori Keroack on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 at 10:58am.

stone crab

Photo by Meredith Zeiff, Mizner Residential Realty

Stone Crab season is here! 

The presence of Red Tide during the stone crab season of 2017/2018 was detrimental for the season last year.  All signs point to a better stone crab season for 2019/2020.  The excitement has been swirling around the arrival of stone crab season this year and the excitement continues to snowball as the snowbirds arrive from the North and visitors from parts unknown vacation in beautiful Florida.  Florida stone crab is a delicacy that is known around the world for its sweet taste and perfect texture.  Many people prefer stone crab over lobster, claws (hands) down.  The claws are quickly cooked after harvest then the stone crab is served chilled and cracked with a side of mustard-based dipping sauce.  If you buy stone crabs at market, eat them within 12 hours if they are cracked and 2 days if they are uncracked.  If you haven't tried stone crabs yet, you don't know what your missing.  My suggestion is to just go ahead and add it to your bucket list - no questions needed. 

The warm tropical waters of the Keys and Gulf provide the perfect climate for Florida stone crabs to thrive.  During stone crab season, local Florida fisherman pull their traps daily to gather a bounty of fresh stone crabs and begin stocking up the local restaurants and fish markets for the season which runs until May 15, 2020.  Florida stone crabs are found on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida and can be recognized by their oval bodies and large claws.  Some restaurants have their own fleets for gathering the sought after stone crabs, however, recreational fishers age 16 and older are also drawn in to the stone crab hoopla every year.  

In the state of Florida, only stone crabs with oversize claws measuring at least 2 3/4 inches long can be harvested.  Once one (or both) of the claw(s) is removed, the rest of the crab is returned to the water so that regrowth of the claw(s) begins after the stone crab molts.  The ability to regrow claws makes stone crabs a renewable delicacy as long as they are harvested responsibly.  Lawfully, both claws of a stone crab can be harvested if they meet the minimum size, however, in order to sustain the renewable delicacy, it makes much more sense to harvest one claw at a time so that the crab can defend itself against its predators and have the ability to consume nourishment at a quicker pace so that it can be converted into the needed energy to grow back the missing claw.  If both claws are removed, the crab will have little defense from its predators and it will take longer to obtain the energy to molt and regrow two lost claws.  If you know a stone crab fisherman, please give him my thanks for what he does. 

By now, you must be wondering where the best place to go for stone crabs is.  Here at Mizner Residential Realty, we have some very strong opinions on this subject.  Here are a few of our favorite places. Joe's Stone Crab is by far the most famous place for stone crabs and you can order by the pound. Joe's probably processes the highest volume of stone crabs in Florida so freshness is pretty much guaranteed.  Joe's Stone Crab has been in the southern part of South Beach of Miami since 1913.  A visit to Miami and South Beach isn't complete unless you eat at Joe's Stone crab, however, you can expect to wait at Joe's.  No worries though, the wait at Joe's is a social event in itself.  Another top contender is Billy's Stone Crab in Hollywood.  Billy's Stone Crab has been open since 1995 at it's waterfront location and is known as one of the best seafood restaurant and markets in the Fort Lauderdale area.  Billy's has mesmerizing views of the intracoastal water way in the elegant dining room and the sunset is breathtaking.  As you might expect, Billy's is all-you-can-eat stone crabs.  Another excellent option is Catfish Deweys in Oakland Park near Pompano Beach.  Catfish Deweys is a family-owned and operated restaurant established in 1984.  Catfish Deweys is best known for its catfish and daily all-you-can each specials.  Stone crabs are offered as all-you-can-eat each day that the catch of the day meets restaurant demand.  You can call ahead for seating which is another great reason to visit Catfish Deweys. 



Lori Keroack is the Business Office Manager of Mizner Residential Group. Lori recently moved to Delray Beach from Connecticut. She is enjoying learning about her new home town and the surrounding areas by researching and blogging about various topics that are relevant to the area.

- Lori Keroack, Business Office Manager - Mizner Residential Group

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