We’re more than halfway through this scrumptious season. And if you have yet to take to the Sullivan’s seas to get a plate of our beautiful stone crab claws, well, we’d like to give you a few reasons why you should.
The season officially started October 15 and officially closes on May 15. As with any seasonal delight, the supply tends to dwindle in the later months. And with the stone crab haul well below the typical yield, it’s high time you made the most of what Florida has to offer.
The Florida stone crab is predominately found with the largest concentration on the east and west coasts of Florida, stretching down into Belize in the Gulf of Mexico. Due to its sweet taste and tantalizing texture, popularity for stone crabs has risen dramatically, causing a series of copy-crabs, including Pacific Rock Crab, Baja Stone Crab, Red Rock Crab and Japanese Crab. But these don’t have the benefits of warm tropical waters, causing the taste and texture to falter. This, of course, is why Sullivan’s only uses the reel deal.
Now, a lot of folks are curious about the harvesting process and whether or not it will eventually leave the species extinct. The answer is no, not at all. In fact, a lot of precautions are taken in order to assure the continued survival of the species. For starters, only one claw may be removed, which allows crabs to defend against predators and regenerate the lost claw. That’s right: lost claws are not a lost cause. Stone crabs, interestingly enough, are a renewable food source.
Another precaution: much like fish, crab claws must meet a certain size in order to be harvested. To be kept, claws must be 2.75 inches long or longer, ranging between small, medium, large, jumbo and colossal. And last, but hardly least, it is illegal to declaw any egg-bearing female crabs, as it is very important they are able to protect themselves. Especially since they produce between tens of thousands to upwards of a million eggs, thus adding to the continued sustainability of the species.
Whether it’s by the millions, the thousands, or simply by the dozen, stone crabs will always be a seasonal fan favorite for us at Sullivan’s. Could it be the sweet, rich taste paired with the unmistakable texture? Or perhaps it’s the reward one gets after successfully prying the rich meat from the claws? Either way, it’s our wish to always bring you the most decadent crab the ocean has to offer. One you can enjoy any day you please. Until May 15 that is.