Crab TourStone Crab season begins October 15. On October 5 we start hauling our traps out. This gives us 10 days to get all of our traps in the water and (hopefully) filled with crabs. The season ends on May 15.
Stone Crabs are a renewable resource. Each Stone Crab is declawed and released unharmed. They then return to the bottom where they grow new claws. It takes about one year for a Stone Crab to grow its claw back to the original size.
A typical day for a Stone Crabber begins well before sunrise. By the time the sun peaks over the horizon, we are usually 20 miles or so offshore and ready to start pulling crab traps.
Stone Crabs are generally caught in traps. The average trap weighs about 50 pounds. Each trap is tended with a single rope and buoy. Each fisherman has an individual color and permit number on each of his buoys. Traps are hauled to the surface with hydraulic winches. In the above picture, the crew is loading traps on board to move to another location. A Stone Crabber will pull 600 to 800 traps a day!
How does this big Stone Crab fit into one of these traps? One claw at a time actually, as seen in the next set of Photographs.
The Stone Crab enters a trap one claw at a time. They are accustomed to entering small holes like the funnel in a crab trap. It resembles the small hole in which they live on the bottom of the ocean.