At its September meeting near Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several changes to recreational and commercial trap fisheries rules. These changes are part of a long-term project to evaluate and improve the management of Florida’s saltwater trap fisheries.
Approved changes include:
- Creating mandatory, no-cost annual recreational blue crab and stone crab trap registrations for trap fishers age 16 and older, and requiring FWC-designated trap identification numbers to be placed on recreational traps (trap registration and marking requirements for recreational stone crab effective Oct. 1, 2019, and similar blue crab requirements effective Jan. 1, 2020).
- Requiring commercial stone crab fishers to maintain an active saltwater products license, restricted species endorsement, and stone crab endorsement to retain their stone crab trap allotment (effective July 1, 2019).
- Starting the commercial spiny lobster trap soak period each year on the Saturday following the recreational mini-season (effective Nov. 1, 2018).
- Increasing the time allowed for commercial lobster fishers to remove spiny lobster traps from the water after the season ends from five days to 10 days (effective Nov. 1, 2018).
Staff will work with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries to implement changes to the spiny lobster trap soak period and trap removal period in federal waters beginning with the 2019-2020 season.