Mangrove Marina

Call: 305.852.8380

Stone Crab Season

Posted by
| Comments Off on Stone Crab Season

The Florida stone crab is a rusty brown-red crustacean with gray spots and a tan belly. While stone crabs are found throughout the western part of the North Atlantic and the salt marshes of Georgia and South Carolina, more than 90% of these crabs are harvested in Florida during stone crab season. The black-tipped claws are a notable delicacy. The stone crab season in Florida runs from mid-October until mid-May and is an exciting time of year for both residents and visitors to the Florida Keys. Here’s everything you need to know.

Stone Crab Season

October 15th marks the opening of stone crab season. Once the season opens, you can find stone crab meat anywhere that offers seafood and can enjoy it everywhere from casual roadside diners to the finest restaurants in Florida.

In the Florida Keys, we’ve been harvesting the prized claws of the humble stone crab since the early 20th century. Here, the conditions are perfect to nurture healthy populations of crabs and other sea life. We can harvest stone crabs sustainably by harvesting only the claws of the crabs. When the claw is properly broken off, maintaining the integrity of the diaphragm at the joint, the crab can regenerate a new claw.

Most of those who participate in the season will only remove a single claw to allow the crab to continue to hunt and defend itself while the new claw regenerates. The process takes several molts to complete, but an otherwise healthy crab can completely regenerate a new claw within a year or a few years, depending on the age and size of the crab.

As soon as the claws are harvested and brought to the dock, they’re boiled for several minutes. The meat is then ready to enjoy cold or hot. Most commonly, they’re served cold with a tangy mustard dip made of mustard mixed with sour cream or mayonnaise, steak sauce, and a variety of seasonings. The claws can also be served hot with melted butter, much like Maine lobster. Claws are large and the meat is flaky with a sweet and mild flavor.

Where to Find Stone Crab Meat

One of the most popular stone crab hotspots is The Square Grouper. Located in the Islamorada Marina, The Square Grouper offers craft cocktails and fresh local seafood, including grouper, tuna, conch, and fresh, delicious stone crab claws. Captain Craig’s is another great place to grab some stone crab claws as well as conch fritters, fish tacos, lobster, and shrimp.

You can also purchase and prepare your stone crab claws. Key Fisheries in Marathon sells fresh stone crab claws and has an on-site restaurant where you can explore a wide range of seafood, including stone crab chowder, cracked conch, hogfish, and lobster.

Mangrove Marina serves as a convenient home base for those wanting to explore the many distinctive flavors of the Florida Keys. Located in Tavernier, our marina is within walking distance of Captain Craig’s and biking distance of The Square Grouper. Key Fisheries is about a 45-minute drive.

Our marina is a full-service marina with ample activities for guests of all ages and luxurious amenities, including our heated freshwater pool and on-site gardens. Our Aqua Villa houseboats are well-appointed and comfortable with cozy bedrooms and living spaces, kitchenettes equipped with everything you need to prepare your stone crab delights, and a spacious deck or patio where you can watch the sun rise or set. Contact us today to learn more or to make your reservations.

Newsletter Signup

Receive special offers & discounts.