Here's Why Stone Crab Is So Expensive

The price for stone crabs rose unexpectedly in 2021. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that menu prices for the crab could claw its way up by 25%. "The supply is very low and prices are way up today," Shelly Abramowitz, the owner of Fresh Stone Crabs, told Fox Weather. "We haven't had a big storm here this whole season. When it doesn't stir up the waters, the crabs don't run." Without the crabs scuttled into a run, crab catchers have to charge more for the crabs that they do catch.

However, even if the weather had not affected the supply of stone crabs, the cost would still be relatively high. As Business Insider reported, a pound of stone crab claws can easily cost up to $70. That is twice the amount charged for the legs of Alaskan snow crabs. Best Stone Crabs gives a price estimate anywhere between $28.95 and $80, with the tagline "Treat yourself to a taste of paradise." However, the calculations of supply and demand go further than whims of the weather and appetites of humanity.

Sustainable yet dangerous

The reason stone crab claws cost so much is due to the nature of their procurement. For one thing, the emphasis on the specific, singular claw is not a mistake.

The Sanibel Captiva explains that the stone crab can regenerate its lost claw over the course of two to three years. Of course, the crab is in extreme peril during these periods. Approximately, 47% of those without either claw die, while only 28% of those with one claw die. So, to ensure a sustainable source of crab claws, only one claw can be removed from the crab. This, obviously, puts a heavy limit on the supply.

The other consideration that goes into the pricing is how dangerous it is to rip off the claw from a crab. Talking to Business Insider, commercial crab fishers describe how "the claws on an adult crab can have as much as 9,000 pounds of pressure per square inch." In other words, a pinch could pick off a careless joint without much effort. So, between the little amount of claws available and the fact that anyone procuring the claws must risk their fingers, the price of stone crabs jumps higher than any other crab.