How to Remove Stone Crab Claws? (Guide)

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Stone crab claws are a delicacy that many people love to indulge in. However, the process of removing them can be difficult and time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

This article will show you how to remove stone crab claws in 5 easy steps. 

We’ll also include some helpful tips and tricks for ensuring your claws come out cleanly every time!

Required Items

  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Pliers or multi-tool
  • Basket or storage container for claws

You’re going to need a few tools to get the job done. I recommend using a pair of gloves, pliers, and a solid bushel basket.

First, you’ll want to use your tongs or pliers to remove the legs from the body of the stone crab, then a basket to hold all the claws.

Once you’ve gathered all you’re supplies you’re ready to move on to removing claws!

How to Remove Stone Crab Claws in 5 Steps

To help you better understand how to remove stone crab claws we’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps to follow, to get started read below.

1. Ensure the claw is a legal size

Before you harvest a stone crab claw you must measure the crab’s claw to ensure it is the legal size. You can do this by taking a measuring tape and measuring it from the immovable portion of the elbow to the tip of the claw.

In the State of Florida, the claw must be greater than 2 ⅞  Inches for it to be legal to harvest. If the crab’s claw is shorter than this you must place it back in the water. 

2. Remove the crab from the water with gloves

Once you’ve made sure the stone crabs claw is a legal size you can begin the process of removing the claw.

To do this you will want to be holding the crab while wearing the gloves. This is to protect yourself from getting cut by the sharp edges of the claw or shell and to give you a better grip on the crab. 

3. Snap the joint quickly near the claw with the pliers

With the crab firmly in your grip, you will want to begin the process of removing the claw. This should be done at the joint in a quick snapping motion.

You can choose to do this by hand or with pliers or tongs. We suggest you use whatever method you feel most comfortable with.

4. Remove the claw

With the joint snapped you can remove the stone crab claw.

Care should be taken during this process to ensure you are not causing any permanent damage or injury to the stone crab.

5. Return the crab to the water

With the claw removed you can now return the stone crab to the water.

Stone crabs have the ability to regrow their claws making them a great food source for fishermen looking to be able to ensure they’re not impacting the environment too heavily.

stone crab claws

Tips & Tricks

  • If you’re removing the stone crab claw by hand, hold the crab with both hands by the claws and move down on the one you intend to harvest in a swift motion. This should create a clean break and prevent injury to the crustacean. 
  • Like all crab meat, if you are harvesting it you must promptly clean it or chill it to ensure it does not spoil

Related Articles
How many crabs are in a bushel?

Florida Stone Crab Regulations

  • It is illegal to harvest stone crab claws that are shorter than 2 ⅞  inches.
  • The daily bag limit for stone crab is either 1 gallon per person or 2 gallons per vessel. Whatever is less.
  • The harvesting of claws from crabs with eggs is not allowed

Florida Stone Crab Fishing Season

  • October 15th to May 1st


Ultimately, there are many types of seafood that you can eat, but not all are created equal. Some people love eating crab legs and lobster tails during their summer vacation to a beach town, while others prefer the delicate flavour of scallops and calamari. 

For those who have never had stone crab claws before, they may be an intimidating food to try because they look so difficult to prepare. 

In reality, though, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes time for dinner! 

Stone crab claws don’t need much more than a few minutes in boiling water or deep-frying oil before being served up with some lemon wedges on the side and they aren’t hard to remove.


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Ryan W

Ryan is the owner of Fisherman First and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He's fished his entire life and has been to locations across North America to catch a range of fish and crustacean from crabs and prawns to minnow and trout.