Here's Why Stone Crabs Are So Expensive

Those who enjoy seafood understand that the price of excellent, fresh oceanic delicacies tends to be higher. And while some types of seafood are expected to be more expensive, such as lobster, high-quality caviar, king crab, and bluefin tuna, stone crab also fetches a surprisingly steep price per pound (via My Live Lobster). If you've ever had a steaming plate of stone crab claws, you know the taste is almost second-to-none. According to Mental Floss, the crustaceans' claw meat can range from $30 to $60 per pound. A stone crab dinner for two from Joe's Stone Crab starts at $169, while larger claws and better-quality stone crab could set you back $360. 

If you're wondering why a partial crab is worth so much, it's because stone crabs and their highly coveted claws have a very short harvest period. Not to mention, there are very strict rules around stone crabbing. The harvesting practices also make stone crabbing one of the most sustainable options (via George Stone Crab). 

This is how stone crabs are harvested

When you think of commercial fishing, you likely picture many fish, lobsters, or crabs trapped in a net or trap. But when stone crabs are caught, they are only temporarily removed from their habitat during the short harvest period between October 15th and May 1st (via Mental Floss). The crabs have one claw removed, and then they are tossed back into the ocean. Even then, the claw must be a minimum of 2¾ inches long to be removed. Females that are pregnant are not allowed to be harvested either.

This allows the crabs to continue living and reproducing while regrowing their claw (via George Stone Crab). So, not only does the existing stone crab population continue to live, but it also gives stone crabs a chance to increase their numbers. But, until then, and so long as the rules around obtaining stone crabs remain so strict, the delicious and highly coveted claw meat will continue to be expensive.