The beginning of another Stone Crab season is here! On Wednesday, Oct. 15, crabbers began pulling their crab traps, set just ten days before on Oct. 5. Fresh, delicious stone crab claws will be available until May 15, when they go back out of season.
Kirk’s Fish Co. in Goodland expects to be stocked with fresh stone crab claws of all sizes shortly after the boats hit their dock. This year, due to some recent expansion, their store will offer a larger quantity of fresh crab claws and other seafood. They’ve added two new crabbers, and including Damas’s 2,700 traps, this year’s 20,000 traps double the amount they fished from last year’s.
“Everyone is excited to get back into it. It’s kind of like school asa kid: You’re excited for summer, but by the end, you’re ready for school to start again,” said Kelly Kirk, Pat and Damas Kirk’s daughter.
Everyone has kept busy over the summer with the maintenance and cleaning of their equipment, and another new addition to the store will give customers a chance to see some of our local aquatic wildlife up-close. They plan to fill a sizable fish tank, just inside their front door, with a variety of species, and hope to include a stone crab to show the claw re-growth process, which takes place over a one to three month period. From dock to display, the process that brings fresh stone crab to Kirk’s customers and area restaurants is fascinating.
“This industry is so great because it’scompletely sustainable,” said Kelly, “As long as they bait the traps, check the traps and don’t lose any traps, the crabs will re-grow and reproduce; there will be more and more.”
As they gear up for the full swing of season, the Kirks are very happy to be kicking off their second year back in Goodland. Damas will sit on a newly formed stone crab advisory board, and Kelly says she will be an active part of that aspect as well.
“I’m ready and excited; this is my life! I had to step away from it, and go to school, to realize how much it really means to me; how much I’m invested,” said Kelly.
Kirk’s is now open seven days a week, 10 AM-5 PM. Visit them at their new website kirkfish.com/.