Shell Fish – Local & Sustainability Sustainability In Fishing And Sea Food When it comes to fishing, hunting, selling, and eating seafood such as shellfish, crab, and oysters, sustainability is becoming a bigger issue every year. Supporting sustainable fishing means that the species being hunted will still be able to procreate at a “sustainable” rate, and that over time, there should be increased species diversity and less scarcity. In Florida, the farming and harvesting of oysters in the Apalachicola Bay is done sustainably. By law, Florida stone crabs cannot be harvested in their entirety, only the claw can be harvested, sold, and eaten. Stone crabs grow their claws back, which allows them to be placed back in their natural habitat after capture. Stone Crab Season Florida stone crab season runs from October 15th to May 15th, which is the only time of year where they can legally be captured. Only the claws of stone crabs can be harvested, sold, and eaten. Scientists believe that only taking one claw instead of two allows for better survival rates when stone crabs are released back into the sea. Currently, stone crab populations are stable, high, and in no danger of long term issues. Blue Crab The blue crab is part of Florida’s diverse crab industry. Blue crabs are generally found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, with crabs also coming from states such as Louisiana. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulate blue crab fishing and limits the amount of traps allowed to be set per blue crab hunting license. There are also limits on the types of blue crab hunted, such as the seasonal prohibition of harvesting female blue crabs bearing eggs. King King crabs are generally sold from two markets—Alaska and Russia. Approximately 80 percent of all King crabs sold in the US were harvested in Russia. Alaska has stringent regulations pertaining to King crabs, though Russia generally isn’t as concerned about the long-term sustainability of the species. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council creates a report with fishing recommendations relating to King crabs each year. Snow Crab Snow crab are typically found in colder climates, such as those found in the Gulf of Alaska. While snow crab are generally associated with Alaska, they are also found throughout the Pacific Ocean near islands such as Japan. The southernmost location snow crabs are known to reside is northern California. In Alaska, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manages snow crab fishing in-season to ensure that snow crab fishing remains sustainable.
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