Stone Crab Shortage, Constitutional Revisions For Florida And The Keys' Holidays Post Irma

Dec 21, 2017

South Florida’s cuisine delights locals and tourists with fan favorites like ham croquetas, Cuban fritas, artisan donuts and freshly caught seafood- which includes stone crab claws.

Fall is the best time to enjoy stone crab claws. However, less than halfway through the season, stone crab numbers are down and prices are going up.

Hurricane Irma made landfall Sept. 10, about a month before the start of the season on Oct. 15,  damaging crucial suppliers of the coveted crustacean.

Ryan Gandy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tracks crab landings around the state. He joined the program to talk about the current condition of the stone crab shortage and what crabbers, restaurant owners and consumers can expect in the near future.  

In Florida, every 20 years, a special group of people appointed by the governor meets to revise the state’s Constitution and propose amendments that end up on the ballot. This group is called the Florida Constitution Revision Committee.   It meets every 20 years. This year marks the third gathering of the commission, which first met in 1977.

The current commission is considering more than 100 proposed amendments, some of which were proposed by the public and others by members in the commission.

Martha Barnett, partner at the Holland and Knight law firm in Tallahassee, was one of the members of the 1997 constitutional commission. She joined the program to talk about her experience in revising Florida’s Constitution.

“Avoid the temptation to try to solve all the current problems,” Barnett advised to the current CRC members. “Avoid the temptation to create a partisan advantage to somebody.”

Also on the show: The holiday season is a very busy time in the Keys, with many tourists escaping the cold, wanting the toasty rays of Florida’s winter sun.

However, hotel bookings are off this year, mostly due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Irma.   

Although the majority of the Keys have been cleaned up, debris piles on the outskirts of the perimeter remain visible. Yet, the storm and its side effects could not break the holiday spirit of residents. Many of the holiday staples are set to go on this year as normal.

For New Year’s, the Keys has four different “ball drops,” much like the one in Times Square. The drops range from the famous Sushi the drag-queen being dropped down in a ruby-colored slipper in Duval Street to a key lime wedge being dropped into a margarita glass.  

WLRN’s reporter and Keys resident Nancy Klingener joined the program to talk about the recovery of the Keys months after Hurricane Irma and how residents ready themselves for the holiday season.