How and where to get Stone Crab in Florida

In the state of Florida, stone crab is wildly popular and it’s easy to see why. If you were wondering where do you get stone crab, you’re in luck—it’s relatively easy to start fishing for them. There are plenty of recreational stone crab hunters, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will allow any individual possessing a recreational fishing license to possess up to one gallon of stone crab claws. If there are a group of stone crab hunters on a fishing vessel, that number is two gallons per vessel. While the claws can be harvested, the crabs themselves cannot be harmed, and must be released by law. Stone crabs are typically found in West and South Florida, in locations such as Sawyer Key, Harbor Keys Bank, Oxfoot Bank, Pavilion Key, Tampa Bay, Homosassa, Cedar Key, and Steinhatchee. Florida law allows for stone crab hunters to set at many as five traps, which must be labeled and retrieved manually by law. Stone crab traps must be retrieved during the daylight hours. Those looking to get started on recreational stone crab hunting should set tracks on rock or sand bottoms, using bait such as fish heads. Traps should be recorded with GPS coordinates so that hunters can check back every 2 to 5 days. Stone crabs are called so because they live among stones, and that’s why rocky sea beds are a great place to start. Some experienced recreational hunters even scuba dive and catch stone crab by hand. Stone crabs typically live in rocky areas where they create holes to live in. Broken shells around the opening of one of these holes is a giveaway that there could be a stone crab living inside. Once the stone crab claws have been harvested, they must be stored properly. That means setting them in a cooler without ice. Ice can damage harvested claws, causing the claw meat to stick to the inner shell.