(WFLA) – Stone crab season begins in Florida on Oct. 15 and several recreational and commercial regulation changes go into effect in the next few weeks.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida’s stone crab fishery has experienced a long-term decline in harvest and is “likely undergoing overfishing.”
The season will now end on May 2.
In addition to the end of the season, new regulations are going into effect this season, including:
- Minimum claw size limit will be 2 7/8 inches, an increase of 1/8 of an inch.
- Possession of whole stone crabs on the water will be limited 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 onboard a vessel before they are measured and legal-sized claws are removed.
- All plastic and wood stone crab traps will need to be outfitted with a 2 3/16-inch escape ring before the 2023-2024 season.
Recreational harvesters who are age 16 or older and fish with traps are required to complete an online, no-cost recreational stone crab trap registration.
Registration numbers should be placed on traps before being used.
For more information on harvesting stone crabs and regulations from FWC, the public can go online.
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