Florida stone crab season opens October 15 and runs through mid-May. The fishery is closed for five months each year to help protect and sustain Florida’s valuable stone crab resource. The stone crab’s ability to regenerate lost limbs makes it possible to harvest the meaty claws without killing the crab. Florida law forbids the harvesting of whole stone crabs. Instead, fishermen remove one or both claws and return the live crab to the water, where it can regenerate its lost limbs in about 18 months. Claws must be at least 2-3/4 inches long to be harvested legally, and claws may not be taken from egg-bearing females. To crack the shell, use a crab cracker that you can purchase here or a wooden mallet. Remove the cracked shell pieces, leaving the meat attached to the moveable pincer. The meat can also be picked from the claws and used in soups, stews, and other dishes. Approximately 2-1/2 pounds of cooked stone crab claws yield 1 pound of meat. During season we use the lites to make stone crab cakes (shown below on left). The picture on the right are stone crab claws that are not cook yet.