About Stone Crabs

Why Is Stone Crab Fishing Sustainable?

Why Is Stone Crab Fishing Sustainable? In this article, we'll take a look at the stone crab and why it is sustainable to fish.

Stone Crab Fishing

Did you know that stone crabs have a crushing force of 19,000 pounds per square inch? That's almost four times the crushing force of a crocodile! Just something to think about as you eat some of the most delicious seafood the ocean has to offer.

Stone crabs are ecological wonders. They are just as fascinating as they are delicious. However, as eco-friendly farming is becoming an ever-growing concern, you might be wondering if stone crab claws are as sustainable as they are appetizing.

The answer is, stone crab fishing is one of the most sustainable fishing industries today. In fact, the stone crab doesn't even die in the process, To learn more about how this is possible and why stone crabs are so environmentally friendly, read on! 

Regenerative Powers 

Stone crabs are strange-looking animals. Their small body is dwarfed by their two enormous claws, of which one is much bigger.

The larger claw is called the crusher, and the smaller claw is called the ripper. The crusher holds the crab's food and can defend against predators. The ripper is a sort of scissor-like appendage that cuts and shreds food. 

To eat, a crab will grab food with the crusher, break it open, and use the ripper to tear bits off and feed itself. These claws and their incredible strength also allow the crab to defend itself against rivals and predators. As you can tell, without its claws, a stone crab is pretty much dead in the water. 

For that reason, the stone crab has evolved with regenerative powers. It loses a claw, and the claw grows back! Through a series of molting cycles, the crab will grow back its claws allowing it to continue surviving.

The Stone Crab Fishing Process

Stone crab fishermen take advantage of this unique property to farm the crab without killing it. They will catch crabs, remove their claws, and set them free. Only one claw can be legally removed from each crab, leaving the other intact.

If a crab is caught that already has a missing claw, it's thrown back into the water. As long as it has one claw, the crab can survive. It can still defend itself and will settle for eating fish flesh and other soft marine life, so they don't risk starvation.

Other kinds of crabs are farmed by taking the whole animal or taking its legs, which kills the crab in the process. Only in stone crab farming are the crabs able to scuttle away.

This process might sound cruel, but crabs don't actually feel pain the same way that we do. Their nervous systems aren't quite as developed, so they don't register anything beyond the faint sensation of a shock. 

Marine Skill

It's worth noting that the skill of the fishermen involved is a huge factor in the sustainability of crab fishing. If the crab has a declawing wound larger than 7 mm, it increases the risk of the animal dying. For this reason, it's important that fishermen are well trained and can remove the claw without causing unnecessary damage. 

The ability to take the claw with a clean break that doesn't harm the crab is a legacy passed down in fishing families. 

The Legality of Crab Fishing

The fact that only one claw can be removed from each crab is very important, but there are a few other laws in place to protect the crab population. 

Claws must be at least 2 3/4 inches long to be taken, and no other part of the body may be harvested. If the claws are too small, the fishermen must throw the crab back.

It is illegal to declaw egg-bearing females. They must be tossed back with both claws intact so they can defend their eggs to allow the crab population to flourish.

In addition, stone crab season runs from October to May. Outside these months, crab fishing is illegal. This gives the crab population some time to regenerate and prevents overfishing. 

Sustainability at Scale and Across the Country

The process of harvesting one claw at a time might seem laborious and time-consuming, all for very little reward.

However, even though each crab only yields one claw, fisheries still bring in several thousands of pounds of claws every day! Our fishery alone brings in between 3,000 to 5,000 pounds every day of the season. This is a tremendous amount of sustainable, non-lethal meat. 

What's even more incredible is that all these crabs come from the same place. While stone crabs live all over the coast, 99% of stone crabs are in Florida. If you aren't lucky enough to live in the Sunshine State, you can still experience fresh stone crab claws for yourself!

You can get stone crabs shipped right to your door less than 36 hours after they leave the water! We don't believe in freezing our claws, so your stone crab delivery will always be as fresh as possible. This means you can savor the fruits of our sustainable labor no matter where you live. 

Order Yourself Some Stone Crab Claws for Dinner

Stone crab fishing is a 100% sustainable industry. The animals aren't killed in the process and can live to scuttle another day. This means you don't have to feel guilty eating your fill! 

At George Stone Crab, we take pride in our sustainable stone crab fishing process. We fished lawfully and safely, and can guarantee a delicious product every time! Browse our selection today and order your next favorite meal.

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