Stone crab season opens Oct. 15, new recreational trap requirements

Florida’s recreational and commercial stone crab claw harvest season opens Oct. 15 in state and federal waters.

New Recreational Trap Requirements

Recreational harvesters who are age 16 and older and fish with traps are now required to complete an online, no-cost recreational stone crab trap registration and place their registration number on their traps before using them. 

To register, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com and add the Recreational Stone Crab Trap Registration to your fishing license account.

Upon completion, each person will receive unique trap registration numbers that must be included on each trap along with the owner’s full name and address. This information must be legible and must be permanently attached to each trap.

This no-cost registration will allow the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to collect important information about these recreational fisheries, which is needed for future stock assessments and management decisions.   

Other Regulations

To be harvested, stone crab claws must be at least 2.75 inches in length when measured from the elbow to the tip of the lower immovable portion of the claw (see illustration). View a video on how to properly remove the claw on the FWC YouTube channel and increase the chance the crabs you release will survive.

Harvesters are encouraged to take only one claw, even if both claws are of legal size, so the released crab will be better able to defend itself from predators. A crab that is returned to the water with one claw intact will be able to obtain more food in a shorter amount of time and therefore regrow its claw faster. There is a recreational daily bag limit of 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less.

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