| October 21, 2011 | 11:38am
Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.
The official start of stone crab season is October 15, and it will run for the next seven months. Fishermen are hoping for a bounty like last year's, which yielded 2.74 million pounds, up from previous years' catches.
off to a slow start. A majority of stone crab claws are harvested off the upper west coast of Florida, though 40 percent are pulled from waters around the Florida Keys.
Naples News reported that catches ran $11.50 a pound for medium claws and $22 for jumbos last week. Local prices at Fish Peddler East fall at $15 a pound for smalls and $21 for large claws. Compare these prices to the going rate in the '60s, which Joe's Stone Crab lists on its website at 30 cents a dozen, wholesale.
To be legally harvested, claws must be at least 2 3/4 inches. Once claws are twisted off, crabs are thrown back into the water. Stone crab claws regenerate within a year or two. Many harvesters claim one rather than both, to allow crabs to defend themselves during regeneration.
Mike Leffler, general manager of Billy's Stone Crabs
in Hollywood, says things are bumpin' for lunch and dinner, with the restaurant averaging 500 covers a day since last week. "Everyone waits until October 16 for season to start. We always open with a bang. We are a very busy restaurant," he said. Leffler prefers tradition when it comes to eating stone crabs: served cold, with a side of mustard.
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.