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New stone crab regulations set for October after long term decline in harvest

Stone crab fisheries are likely undergoing overfishing
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 14:00:09-04

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved changes to recreational and commercial stone crab regulations.

Florida’s stone crab fishery has experienced a long-term decline in harvest and is likely undergoing overfishing.

FWC staff worked with stakeholders on these changes intended to increase the stone crab population and build resiliency in the fishery.

Changes go into effect Oct. 1, 2020, and include:

  • Moving the season end date from May 15 to May 1, closed on May 2.
  • Requiring a two 3/16-inch escape ring in all plastic and wood stone crab traps before the start of the 2023/2024 season.
  • Increasing the minimum claw size limit by 1/8 inches from 2 3/4 inches to 2 7/8
  • Limiting possession of whole stone crabs on the water to two checker boxes, each up to 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet OR a total volume of 24 cubic feet. Checker boxes are used to hold crabs on board a vessel before they are measured, and legal-sized claws are removed.