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Recreational Blue and Stone Crab Trap Fishers Workshops

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your input on the recreational stone crab and blue crab fisheries. Share your feedback on potential regulation changes for this fishery.

The FWC is hosting public workshops throughout the state in May to develop a better understanding of the public’s view on management of these fisheries.

Potential regulation changes being discussed include requiring all recreational stone and blue crab traps have a no-cost FWC-issued number affixed to the trap. Several potential regulation changes for the commercial fishery will also be discussed including standardizing management measures across the fisheries.

Workshops will be from 6 to 8 p.m. local time:

If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online by visiting Additional details and updates for these meetings will be posted at (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.”)

Blue Crab Recreational Trapping

Gear Requirements:

Trap Specifications

Trapping Regulations

 State Waters Trap Closures:

Sept. 20 – Oct. 4 closed to traps in Gulf state waters beyond 3 miles and in federal waters.


Blue Crab Trap Harvest Regional Closed Seasons

In an effort to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps from Florida, the FWC has established regional blue crab trap closures. These six regional closures last up to 10 days and prohibit recreational and commercial harvest of blue crabs with traps in these areas. The closures alternate coasts every year with closures on the east coast of Florida occurring during the even numbered years and closures on the west coast occurring on the odd years.

Even Year Closures

Odd Year Closures

These closed seasons only apply to standard blue crab traps. The harvest of blue crabs by other gear, such as dip nets and fold-up traps, is permitted during the closures. Traps that are attached to private property such as a dock are not included in the closures.

For more information:

Can female blue crabs be harvested?

Female blue crabs may be harvested lawfully if they are not bearing eggs. Although it is lawful to keep non-egg bearing female blue crabs, it is a conservation practice to release them unharmed. There has been evidence that the females support the population of the species. Male crabs are capable of mating several times, but females are only able to mate once, after they mature.

If a juvenile female is harvested, there will be no chance that she will be able to reproduce. Additionally, mature females may store sperm in their bodies for several months after mating in order to spawn at a later date. If a mature female is harvested, though she may not exhibit eggs, there is no certainty that she has spawned.

Releasing female blue crabs enhances reproductive capacity and population renewal.

Stone Crab Recreational Trapping



Stone Crab: Menippe mercenaria or Menippe adina

Florida Regulations:

RegulationsGulf State WatersAtlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit2 3/4-inch claw
Daily Bag Limit1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less

*Harvest of egg-bearing crabs prohibited

Gear Requirements:

Trap Specifications

Trapping Regulations

State Waters Harvest Seasons:

Open Oct. 15 – May 15

Traps may be placed in the water 10 days prior to the opening of the season, but once placed, you may not tend to the traps until the start of the season, at which time you may begin harvesting.

Video: How to harvest a stone crab claw

Can both stone crab claws be harvested?

Yes. Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested lawfully if they are of legal size. Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab’s claws, this practice leaves the stone crab with few alternatives to defend itself from predators.

Although the crab can still obtain minimal amounts of food with no claws, having one claw (if the other one is harvested) will enable the crab to obtain greater amounts of food in a shorter amount of time. Stone crabs (like other crustaceans) have the ability to grow back their claws, but this process requires a large amount of energy in the form of food.

The quicker the crab can obtain the energy required to molt and grow its lost claw, the sooner this renewable delicacy will have another claw to replace the missing one.

 For more information:

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