Florida red tide hurts stone crab industry

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Florida’s months-long battle over red tide is hurting an industry critical to the region: stone crabs.

The state responsible for about 98 percent of the stone crabs hitting plates around the country is feeling the pain of the shellfish shortage, which is impacting everyone from consumers to business owners. Experts say the crabs are worth $31 million annually.

Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach claims it started the stone crab craze almost a century ago, and now the restaurant's name is on the line. Stephen Sawitz, a senior executive at Joe’s, said skyrocketing prices could make the shellfish out of reach for many people.

“They are up to $69.95 right now. That is a $10 increase, which is very big for us,” Sawitz said.

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