Island Joe's Stone Claws

Island Joe’s – West Coast Crabbing Story

Ouch! All crabbers get pinched!

Island Joe’s Crab Claws are caught along the rocky coastline and throughout the beautiful Channel Islands located 26 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara.

On an average, the crabs reach sizes 5 to 10 inches across. These incredible Cancer-Antennarius' are wild caught, and like the Menippe mercenaria, the meat is delectably sweet.

Crab fisherman work long hours and require a strong back to endure the work. Our boats leave port before dawn loaded with fresh bait. They search for clusters of crabs by setting their traps where they think the crabs might be – crabs are always on the move. 

"Timing is everything!"

The fishermen pull the first trap at first light to see if they’ve found a bevy. It’s a real art! They're certainly not the right place if the trap comes up empty!

The trap is pulled to the surface and the crabs are taken out. The fishermen have to be fast or they’ll get pinched by those enormous claws. The crabs are quickly put into receivers and then lowered into the live tanks where copious amounts of sea water is circulating to keep the crabs alive and fresh.

The fishermen work quickly so they don’t lose track of the crabs below. This backbreaking work has no rest until the traps start coming up empty. The traps are heavy and the fishermen are drenched with saltwater, scraped by barnacles, and tossed around a boat working in choppy water!

On the ride home, the crabs are sorted by size and quality. This is done before they reach the docks because our land crew is waiting there to prepare for the crabs to be clawed, and cleaned, and cooked to perfection.

For the fisherman, the day’s only over when the boat’s been washed down and refueled – ready for the following morning.

Ah, the Crabber’s Life!

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