Home News Florida Stone Crab Season Begins with Blessing of the Fleet

Florida Stone Crab Season Begins with Blessing of the Fleet

Florida Stone Crab Season Begins with Blessing of the Fleet

Stone crab season begins on October fifteenth, and together with it come prayers for a secure and prosperous season. Everglades City recently hosted the Blessing of the Fleet, a centuries-old tradition that originated in southern European fishing communities. The blessing from the local priest is supposed to make sure a bountiful and secure season. Nowadays, fishing villages everywhere in the world have clergy members bless the boats on the water’s edge. This 12 months marked the thirteenth annual Blessing of the Fleet in Everglades City for local crabbers.

Around 12 boats paraded into Camellia Street Grill on Saturday morning for the blessing. The event was also a celebration of the start of stone crab season, featuring music, food, and drinks. This 12 months, Camellia’s hosted the event for the primary time, because the Florida Stone Crabbers Association took charge of organizing. Previous events had been held on the Rod and Gun Club. Kelly Kirk, certainly one of the administrators of the stone crabbers association, selected Camellia’s because the venue since it has been a significant supporter of the Everglades Seafood Festival.

Monsignor Tim Naven of San Marco Catholic Church and Associate Pastor Craig Daniels of Church of God said prayers for the crews and boats on Saturday morning. Naven sprinkled holy water, while Daniels touched the boats with blessed oils. The Church of God also handed out waterproof bags containing Bibles to the boat captains.

Bill Doster, who’s starting his forty third crabbing season, expressed gratitude for the prayers, saying, “It’s nice that any person’s looking for us. We’d like all the assistance we will get, especially in at the present time with $5 a gallon diesel.” Nairara Rementeria, the owner of Camellia’s, understands the challenges of crabbing, whether it’s buying crabs for the restaurant or waiting for her husband, Shane Freeman, to return as a captain. She emphasizes the dedication required by crabbers, with early mornings and late nights, describing it as exertions.

The crab season, regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), runs until May 1st. A brand new regulation for this 12 months requires the addition of an escape ring to all wood and plastic traps before the season begins. This enables small crabs and other creatures to have access to food and to exit the traps. Bill Doster, who will probably be deploying 6,000 traps this 12 months, supports this latest regulation, stating, “I believe the cull is sweet for that. Keeps the little ones out.” Doster goes 40 to 50 miles offshore from Everglades City searching for larger crabs, which he says is where the cash is. He notes that the trip will probably be longer this 12 months resulting from his latest CAT motor with 1,014 horsepower.

Starting within the 2020 crab season, FWC increased the minimum claw size from 2 3/4 inches to 2 7/8 inches. The possession limit of whole crabs on the water has been limited to 2 checker boxes, totaling 24 cubic feet, and the season has been shortened by two weeks. Doster believes a shorter season is smart, as crabs appear to be spawning earlier. He emphasizes the importance of not disturbing the eggs, as they represent next 12 months’s crop. Doster hopes for a successful 12 months, aiming to match no less than half of his previous 12 months’s accomplishments.

Doster and his crew plan to drop their traps at midnight on October 4th, marking the beginning of their crabbing season. The brand new stone crab regulations implemented by FWC have raised economic concerns for fisheries in the world. Within the meantime, residents can enjoy other events in Southwest Florida, including a performance by Duo at Marco Presbyterian and the Everglades Seafood Festival.


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