Blue Crab is harvested year round from all five Gulf states, with peak harvest levels coming in the warm summer and fall months. Named for the light-blue tint of its claws, the crab has a thick shell and 10 legs — allowing it to swim and scuttle across bottomlands. As an adult, it lives in the Gulf's bays and estuaries amid marshes that offer protection and abundant food sources.
Soft-Shell Blue Crab, however, is only found in Florida and Louisiana. Peak Soft-Shell Blue Crab season is March through June.
Golden Crab is a large, non-swimming crab from the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Caught year-round, adult males typically weigh between three and five pounds, while the female is considerably smaller and possesses limited commercial value. Its golden-cream shell color sets this crab apart from its close relatives, the Deep-Sea Red Crabs, Snow, and King Crabs.
Golden Crabs are found in the Sunshine state of Florida.
Gulf Stone Crab
Gulf Stone Crab is known for its large crusher claw that contains succulent meat. It has merited a high market demand and premium prices. The Gulf Stone Crab’s maroon-brown color distinguishes it from the Florida Stone Crab. Fishermen are allowed to take claws at least 2 3/4 inches long and are required to return the crabs safely to the water. They can regenerate claws three to four times during their lifetime.
Gulf Stone Crabs can be found throughout the five Gulf states.
Florida Stone Crab
Florida Stone Crabs are typically a dark brownish-red, more or less mottled and spotted with dusky gray. Florida Stone Crabs feature a mark that resembles a thumbprint on the inside of the large claw. Like the Gulf Stone Crab, they can regenerate claws three to four times during their lifetime.
Florida Stone Crabs are found in West Central Florida around the peninsula to East Central Florida and are in season from October 15 through May 15.
To download a complete list of Gulf Coast species by State Click Here.
For easy-to-understand science-based facts to help you make smart sustainable seafood choices, NOAA FishWatch provides information about U.S. seafood that is responsibly harvested under strict regulations that work to keep the environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job.