For years now fisherman of Florida have been doing something quite peculiar. Rather than fish the ocean dry, they have been harvesting the Florida Stone Crab, one claw at a time. That is right, each year when the famous crabs are caught, one claw is carefully detached and the crab is then thrown back into the water to fight another day (or to be eaten one claw at a time another day).
Within a year, the claw can grow back to bigger than the original size. When crabs have one claw removed, their survival rate sits at 75%. If both of their claws were removed only one in two crabs survive. They also have a size criteria they must meet to get the chop.
This is sustainable fishing. As we all know the world population continues to grow exponentially on a finite globe. It has been argued that any move towards sustainability has to be a good thing. However, there is something strange about eating a limb of a creature that is actually still alive. Some have considered this practice to be animal cruelty.
It is somehow less cruel than killing the entire animal and eating it. This harvesting practice, although odd-sounding, does mean the crab population is under a reduced threat.
It is the crab's incredible ability to grow back a limb, when one is lost, that allows this practice to work. When you consider doing this to other animals, the cruelty monitor suddenly raises much higher.
The more people look to greener and more sustainable options, the more we will see ingenuity in practices such as the 'harvesting of crabs one leg at a time' technique they are doing in Florida. Some may call it a viable solution, while others see it as cruelty. The sad thing is we don't really know how much longer the saying "There's plenty more fish in the sea" will ring true.