Attention Stone Crab Harvesters…….
New measures related to configuration of the stone crab trap entrance will be effective Oct. 5.
Beginning this year’s stone crab season, the use of round entrances (also known as throats or funnels) will no longer be allowed for stone crab traps used in state or federal waters off these three counties; Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade.
The changes will also require that the rectangular or rounded rectangular entrances typically used in stone crab traps be no larger than 5½ by 3 1/8 inches at the most narrow portion of the opening.
The changes will bring the gear regulations for these three counties more closely in line with the way the stone crab fishery has traditionally operated in the region and prevent the use of stone crab traps to target lobster. The FWC did not adopt any changes to the allowable size of the overall trap, although that had been considered previously.
For questions call Dan Ellinor at 850-617-9629.
STONE CRAB: Menippe mercenaria or Menippe adina
||Gulf State Waters
|| Atlantic State Waters
|Minimum Size Limit
|| Claws harvested only: 2 3/4 inches; no egg-bearing females
|| None; Incidental bycatch 5 gallons
|| Closed May 16 - Oct. 14 (see *Note below)
*Note: Traps may be placed in the water and baited 10 days prior to the opening of the stone crab season. Please be aware that once placed, you may not tend to the traps until the start of the season, at which time you may begin harvesting. Traps must be removed within five days after the close of the stone crab season.
Saltwater Products License (SPL), Restricted Species Endorsement (RS) and Stone Crab Endorsement (X)
- Traps made from either wood, plastic or wire
- Cannot use any device to puncture, crush or injure the crab body.
- Live stone crabs that are not immediately returned to the water must be kept in shaded containers and kept damp.
- Maximum trap size is 24 inches by 24 inches by 24 inches or a volume of 8 cubic feet
- Traps can be made from either wood, wire or plastic
NEW: Throat must be 5 1/2 by 3 1/8 inches in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade
If the throat or entrance is round, it cannot exceed 5 inches in diameter
- NEW: Round throats prohibited in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties
- If the throat or entrance is round, it cannot exceed 5 inches in diameter
- Plastic traps must have a degradable pane that is 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches and is made of cypress or untreated pine slat no thicker than ¾ of an inch
- Wire traps must have at least three unobstructed escape rings (2 3/8 inches in diameter) located on a vertical side of the trap.
- A stone crab trap tag must be permanently affixed
- The buoy must be no smaller than 6 inches and must be marked with a legible blue crab endorsement number that is at least 2 inches tall
- May only be worked during daylight hours.
- Traps are prohibited in all navigation channels of Inland Coastal Waterways or channels marked by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard or state, county or local governments.
- Pulling another person's trap without express consent of the owner and FWC Law Enforcement is prohibited.
- No more than two stone crab endorsement numbers (X) shall be used on a single vessel.
Video: How to Harvest a Stone Crab Claw
Can both stone crab claws be harvested?
Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested 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 help the crab 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.