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Red tide, warm water slowing stone crab harvest

,p> A 130-mile long swath of red tide has shifted several times along the Southwest Florida coast, from Pinellas County to Collier County, for about a year.

Gravinese said Mote conducted an experiment from its docks near New Pass and in Sarasota Bay and found that crab mortality rates skyrocketed in stagnant water.

Jim Gowett, the assistant general manger at Star Fish Company market & Restaurant in Cortex fishing village, said warmer water in Manatee County is keeping crabs dormant. Crabber are going father into the Gulf or north to Crystal River for better luck.

"They are averaging about 2,000 pounds a day 70 miles north of us," Gowett said.