Hernando's stone crabbers say season was terrible

By Ferdinand Zogbaum, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 7:51 AM EDT

The crab traps are being moved and stacked as another stone crab season comes to an end on May 15.

Captain Mike Birren, a stone crabber out of Hernando Beach, says this season was horrible.

"Right now I'm pulling 600 to 650 traps, bringing them home and I'm catching between 40 and 50 pounds," he said. "Right now my boat is going about $500 a day in the hole."

Birren says he was doing a little better earlier in the year but he's looking forward to the season coming to a close. He's going to turn to grouper fishing to try and make back some money.   

Kathryn Birren is a wholesaler on Hernando Beach. She says this is the second bad season in a row and that all the boats she buys from have been bringing in a lot less crab all season long.

"I would say between 75 and 180 pounds per boat which is pathetic," she said. "Lots and lots of 125-pound days."

Some spots located north and south of the county did a little better, but overall it was not a great year. Nobody really knows why. Some blame the weather.

Birren is hoping things turn around next season.

"That's all we can do," he said. "That's all we have ever done is fish, so we got to stick with it."