Stone crabs are back and bountiful!
As Longboat Key winter residents trickle back to the Key, another local favorite has arrived in full force — stone crabs.
Longboat’s own stone crab eatery, Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, has welcomed the first of the fall residents to guests plates on Monday. Moore’s co-owner, Alan Moore, says it’s official, the crabs are here and bountiful.
“In the first few days crabbers have already brought in more than triple the amount of crabs from the same time last year.
The Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria, is a crab found in the western North Atlantic, from Connecticut to Belize, including Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas that is widely caught for food.
And Moore says customers are lining up for what some say is part crab-part Florida lobster and entirely delicious.
With large pinchers that host a chunk of sweet meat of the sea and a thick, dense reddish shell, these crustaceans are worth the effort.
Stone crabs have been the mainstay of Moore’s business for years. Moore’s grandfather was a Cortez crabber in the 1930’s. The family has several crabbers who collect crabs every day and bring them to the docks just outside of the restaurant’s front door.
“On Monday’s season opening, crabbers brought back over 800 pounds. Last year they only brought in 40,” said Moore.