The gallery below is dedicated to the hard working men and women of Stock Island who, everyday, get into their boats and head out to sea, they are the people who you may never meet or see anywhere but here, but they are the ones putting fresh fish and shrimp, lobster and stonecrab on our plates everyday...

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the backbone of the early lower keys economy, and the mainstay...

... of Stock Island, the commercial fishing fleet that once lived and thrived in Key West was moved to its present home in Safe Harbor as the marinas and boat slips were sold out to developers. Facing the same battles again, Safe Harbor and Stock Island could be the last stand for the Commercial Fishing Fleet of the Florida Keys...

According the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, commercial fishermen landed (that's "fisheze" for "caught") over 110 million pounds of seafood in 2004. Guess how many fishing trips to sea it took to bring this much in? It was a mere 226,710 trips. Now that’s a lot of traveling to bring home the groceries. The wholesale value of all this seafood was almost $186 million in 2004

Shrimp is at the top of the chart with almost 28 million pounds caught from Florida waters in 2004. Don’t even try to guess how many actual shrimp it took to make up 28 million pounds unless you are having trouble sleeping and prefer to count shrimp instead of sheep. It’s a good thing the shrimpers harvest such large quantities because, according to the United States Department of Commerce, it is the favorite among consumers with an annual 4.2 pounds consumed per person in 2004. This consumption is up from previous years.

The life cycle of a shrimp in the wild is only about 13 months. They reproduce rapidly which is a good thing since so many people like to eat them. Shrimp fishing is only done at night. In Florida, there are four shrimp species of commercial value in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic waters. They are categorized by four major colors: brown, pink, white and royal red shrimp. The majority of the shrimp harvested in Florida are the pink species.

All lobsters do not have claws. The Florida spiny lobsters have long feelers instead. When caught by a predator, a spiny lobster has the ability to break off the appendage, escape and grow another one. Another interesting fact about spiny lobsters is that during seasonal migrations, they form a single line, called "marches," as they move from shallow to deep water.

The stone crab can regenerate its claws three to four times. Florida law forbids the taking of whole stone crabs. Fishermen are allowed to take claws at least 2 3/4 inches long and are required to return stone crabs safely to the water. Of course, they really do have to be careful when they are doing this because a stone crab’s claw is strong enough to crush a finger. Ouch!


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