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Stone crabs are in trouble, females in the comic book industry and new rules for Goliath Grouper

Keyla Valerio
Courtesy of Keyla Valerio

The price of stone crabs is rising and Florida officials are worried about over-fishing. Also, we’ll meet a Miami-born female comic book artist to share stories about the industry. Finally, there used to be a longstanding ban on killing Goliath Grouper, but now there will be limits on just how many can be caught.

On this Tuesday, March 29, edition of Sundial:

Stone Crabs

Unless you're a crabber, the last time you might have thought about stone crabs might have been when you had your claws with a side of butter at dinner. And when you got the bill for that, you might also have noticed that the price of your crab claw has gone up.

Stone crab season will be coming to an end in a little over a month. And there are concerns that we need to get a better handle on the stone crab population.

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WLRN's environment Reporter Jenny Staletovich joined Sundial. She's been looking into the status of stone crabs in Florida for an upcoming report.

"When I started asking around about the numbers themselves and how the population was doing, I was actually surprised to find out that they had declined so much," Staletovich said. "They were at their highest in 2000, and ever since then they have been declining."

Stone Crabs on Sundial.mp3

Female Comic Book Artists 

In the Sundial Book Club pick for March, "Secret Identity" by Alex Segura, the protagonist is named Carmen Valdez. She had just moved to New York. It’s the 1970s. And she has a dream of making it as a comic book creator. But she faces an uphill battle because it’s a male-dominated industry.

How many female artists are there in the comic book industry today? Many more than the 1970s, but it's still disproportionate.

Keyla Valerio is a Miamian now living in Detroit, who has worked on projects like the Power Rangers. She joined Sundial to share what the industry is like for women now, and how she still feels the pressure sometimes to create while thinking about a more male audience.

"Things like even color are very gendered," she said. "When you're trying to kind of, draw and create content for people, especially knowing what your audience is, I think a lot of us grew up or started off feeling like you kind of have to cater to who is buying what."

"But I think the nice thing with more of an uptick in more female consumers as far as comics, and even stuff like video games … it lets us creators have a little more freedom and just do the work that we want to do, and it takes off, I think," Valerio said.

What it's like to be a woman in the comic book industry.mp3

Goliath Grouper 

For the past 32 years, there has been a ban on killing Goliath grouper. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently lifted that ban — with the exception of a tract in South Florida from Martin County to the Dry Tortugas.

The fish are popular with divers. Shana Phelan, the owner of Pura Vida Divers in Riviera Beach, joined Sundial to share what it's like to dive with these big fish — in some cases up to 800 pounds.

"They are the cutest, ugliest fish you'll ever see," Phelan said.

And she made it clear she is not in favor of the ban being partially lifted on fishing these gentle, inquisitive giants in the sea.

"We're not super excited about it," she said. "There are definitely ways to do research without having to cause mortality."

You can find more of WLRN's coverage of Goliath grouper here.

Diving with Goliath Grouper.mp3
Earlier this month, Florida wildlife officials lifted some restrictions on goliath grouper in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico and other parts of Florida. Bans remain in place from Martin County to the Keys and Dry Tortugas.

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.