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Red Tide, Hurricane Aftermath May Impact Stone Crab Harvests

Stone_crab.jpg
Veronica ML (Wikimedia Commons)

Fishermen in southwest Florida say lingering red tide and the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew may cut into their early stone crab harvests.

The stone crab season began Saturday. The Naples Daily News reports that Hurricane Matthew delayed the setting of thousands of crab traps along the Gulf coast.

When fishermen were able to set out for stone crabs, they found murky waters and more dead fish left by a red tide algae bloom that has caused thousands of fish to wash ashore since early October.

Damas Kirk of Kirk Fish Co. in Goodland says that instead of hurting stone crabs, the red tide helps them. Kirk says that with so many dead fish to eat on, the crabs are less likely to go after the bait in fishermen's traps.

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