Stone crab season set to open
The recreational and commercial stone crab harvest seasons will start on Oct. 15 and remain open through May 1, closing on May 2. The minimum claw size limit is 2 7/8 inches.
RECREATIONAL TRAP REGISTRATION
Recreational harvesters who are ages 16 and older and fish with traps are required to complete an online, no-cost recreational stone crab trap registration each year. To register, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, sign in, click the “Click here to get a License!” tile, scroll down to the “Saltwater Fishing” section, and select “Recreational Stone Crab Trap Registration.”
Each person will receive trap registration numbers that must be included on each trap along with the owner’s full name and address. The information must be legible and must be permanently attached.
OTHER TIPS, REGULATIONS
Care should be taken when removing the claws so as to not permanently injure the crab.
Claws may not be taken from egg-bearing stone crabs. Stone crabs may not be harvested with any device that can puncture, crush or injure a crab’s body. Examples of devices that can cause this kind of damage include spears and hooks.
Recreational harvesters may take a daily bag limit of one gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less, and may use up to five stone crab traps per person.
Recreational and commercial traps could be baited and placed in the water on Oct. 5 but traps may not be pulled and claws may not be harvested or possessed until Oct. 15. Traps that are not being fished should be removed from the water to avoid ghost fishing, a process in which marine species get caught in the trap for extended periods of time and are not harvested.
Stone crab regulations are the same in state and federal waters.
For more information on harvesting stone crabs for recreation, trap specifications, commercial stone crab regulations and licensing information, go online to MyFWC.com/Marine.