Recent news of a decimated fishing fleet in the Keys has many people wondering about seafood availability in the upcoming months. Most notably, the stone crab haul. To many, October is the beginning of their culinary fiscal year as it marks the beginning of stone crab season. But unlike lobster traps, the stone crab traps were all on land during the storm. For the most part, the majority of traps were spared. There are some boats that were damaged, but they should be up and running in time for the October 15th beginning of the season. Dennis Dopico of D&D Seafood, one of South Florida’s largest stone crab suppliers agrees. “All boats and traps should be fully functional by the start of the season,” he commented. “I see absolutely no issues with supply.” Many in the seafood industry agree. Luis Martinez, manager at Miami seafood staple, Casablanca Seafood remarked, “We’re excited for the stone crab season. All our boats are ready and we expect a great season.” Casablanca is the largest partner of the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival which celebrates stone crabs and all things seafood. The festival takes place October 21 and 22 on Key Biscayne. To mark the beginning of stone crab season, a helicopter will head out to a trap boat, grab a cooler full of claws and land at Miami Marine Stadium on October 15th marking the official start of the stone crab season. This first bushel of claws will be escorted by one other than Mr. Monty Trainer, and man and name synonymous with seafood in Miami. “I’ve been in the seafood business for longer than most people have been alive,” exclaims the Coconut Grove icon. “Seafood is part of Miami.” The helicopter and stone crabs will touch down around 10:00am on Sunday October 15th. The Coconut Grove Seafood festival will take place at the same location on October 21 and 22 with dozens of seafood vendors offering all types of seafood from Caribbean favorites to New England classics – it will all be at the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival. In addition there is an all-star lineup of chefs hosting cooking demos and workshops. Kids under 10 are free and the y can spend time at the Family Fun Zone with free activities and rides. Tickets available online with special Family Pack savings. Visit www.CoconutGroveSeafoodFestival.com for times, attractions and tickets.