EVERGLADES CITY, Fla - The stone crab season is continuing on the dismal track it began. In fact, crabbers in Everglades City say it's the worst season they've ever had.
No one can pinpoint the exact reason behind the lackluster year. Some say it's just mother nature, while others point to red tide or the BP oil spill. One thing they can all agree on is the fact that they're barely able to stay afloat.
Crabbers are coming in empty handed and in a community that depends on the stone crab business, it's trickling down to the restaurants.
"It's been horrible," says Kit Johnson, a crabber for more than 35 years. "it started out bad and it's just a different crab than what we usually catch. It's a horrible crab. It's junky. We call it a junky crab."
Johnson and his crew left at 3 a.m. Monday morning hoping the cold front would bring them some good luck, but he and other came back empty handed.
Captain Bill Louwsma says, "there's actually no comparison. Last year we made a living. This year we're not."
Meanwhile prices are sky high, but that isn't helping out restaurants or crabbers. "It's not just one boat, it's every boat, everyone is struggling," says Louwsma. "You can't make your house payments. You can't get your kids tennis shoes."
The stone crab season runs from October 15-May 15 and with just two months to go, the community that typically thrives during stone crab season can only look ahead to next year and hope the tide will turn.
"I've never seen it where the whole state of Florida, nobody in the state of Florida is catching any crabs," says Johnson. "I've been doing it for over 35 years, I've never seen it like this."