FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fisherman in southwest Florida say octopuses are threatening to decimate their stone crab harvests.
Octopuses are intelligent, voracious predators. They can easily prey on stone crabs caught in traps in the Gulf of Mexico.
“They’re real thick offshore. Past 30 feet deep, we’re catching a lot of them,” commercial fisherman Shane Dooley tells the News-Press (http://newspr.es/1euEITM ). “Some traps have two or three in them. They eat the crabs as soon as they get in, and they go from trap to trap.”
All of Island Crab Co. owner Jeff Haugland’s traps are in 40 to 55 feet of water.
“It’s like a desert out there,” he said. “My boats are seeing plenty of octopus, and they’re seeing no stone crab, almost less than none.”
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