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Tasty and sustainable

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – Yum! Stone crab season is under way until May 15. I love the sweet and succulent meat from their claws. Don't you? And we don't have to feel guilty about making stone crabs extinct. They are a sustainable marine resource. Stone crabs have two meat-filled claws. When a stone crabber - commercial or recreational - captures one of them and applies a little pressure, the claw comes away. The stone crab is let go and grows a new claw. Neat, huh? Stone crabs are found from North Carolina to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Most of the crab claws are harvested in Florida waters - especially in the Gulf, but also in the Atlantic, including the Treasure Coast. Most crabs are caught in commercial traps. Their claws are sold to seafood processors, which boil the claws, then cool them with fresh water and cover them with ice. You can crack one without additional cooking and eat it with mustard sauce. That's the way I like it. Or you can heat it and serve it with drawn butter. To catch stone crabs you need a saltwater fishing license. Florida law prohibits the use of hooks, spears or other devices that could injure the stone crab's body, leading to its death. That makes sense. A dead stone crab is just like a dead fish or a dead lobster - not a sustainable marine resource. For 88.9 FM this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.