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September 29, 2018

Welcome the Future Demise of the Florida Stone Crab Industry
Now there's greed, then there's commercial fisherman greed. First, take a resource that doesn't belong to them. Next, adopt the "I gotta get mine, screw everybody else" attitude. Follow that by installing some commercial-friendly scientists on the fish and wildlife council and Marine Fisheries service, and you set the conditions for ruination of a resource. What's my proof? I'll just go with the low-handing fruit. Two reasons. First, last year's harvest was terrible. Quality was low, prices were sky-high, and it just wasn't good. Second, the regulations for harvesting stone crab claws allow for the taking of both claws (if they are of legal size). Now maybe it's just me, but taking both claws off a crab seems like some seriously short-minded, "gotta get mine while I can get it," greedy ignorant shit. Crabs need their claws to defend themselves from predators and put food in their mouths. Seems kinda basic; no arms means no protection and no way to feet itself. We're not talking about little Harry shoving his face into his birthday cake. The stone crab is by nature a predator crab. Taking both claws is asking it to change it's very nature and become a scavenger. But don't just take my word for it. Look at the FWC website. Like this: "Both claws of a Stone Crab may be harvested if they are of legal size. Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab's claws, this practice leaves the stone crab with few alternatives to defend itself from predators. Although the crab can still obtain minimal amounts of food with no claws, having one claw (if the other one is harvested) will help the crab obtain greater amounts of food in a shorter amount of time. Stone crabs (like other crustaceans) have the ability to grow back their claws, but this process requires a large amount of energy in the form of food. The quicker the crab can obtain the energy required to molt and grow its lost claw, the sooner this renewable delicacy will have another claw to replace the missing one." So I ask you, if they know the practice leaves the crabs undefended, why do they allow it? Answer? Because the short-sighted commercial fisherman are more concerned about getting theirs than protecting the resource so they make sure their lawmaker and scientist friends set things up their way. It's stupid, yes, but we're not dealing with brain surgeons. Sure, crabs regrow their claws, but it takes several molt cycles to do it, and guess what it takes; Yep, enough food to get the energy to molt! They know that, yet allow the harvest of both claws. It's dumb. Maybe they need a more literal example. Maybe something extreme. I tell you what, let's get a couple crabbers, lop one arm off one guy, and both off the other, set them down in front of a bowl of soup and see how they do. Better yet, add a guy with a rolled-up newspaper that wants to hit them while they eat and let them figure out why taking both claws is really freaking stupid. The outlook for this year by the scientists is a fairly rosy one. The outlook by people that live here and see the harvest year to year is far worse. Why not get some common sense and stop the double claw harvest. Why not try to sustain the resource instead of making it comparable to musical chairs. As the crabs go, so shall the fishermen. They know it. They just can't control themselves.

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