FWC proposes changes to blue crab rules
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) proposed a series of draft rule amendments on
Thursday to modify blue crab regulations. These proposals include
some recommendations by the FWC's Blue Crab Advisory Board, which
helps the Commission manage Florida's blue crab fishery, as well as
some technical blue crab amendments.
One proposed rule amendment by the board would
change the six annual regional, 10-day blue crab trap closures to
occur every other year. The January closure to the harvest of blue
crabs with traps in the St. Johns River system and the August
closures in Nassau through Palm Beach counties would occur in
even-numbered calendar years only. The July closures in Broward
through Wakulla counties and the January closure in Franklin
through Escambia counties would occur in odd-numbered calendar
years only. This proposed change would help focus trap cleanup
efforts in each region and lessen the economic impact of the
closures on individual crabbers.
Other board-proposed rule amendments would change
the blue crab license-endorsement transfer window from September
through December to May through February to increase opportunities
for crabbers to transfer their endorsements to someone else and
allow initial blue crab trap tags to be ordered at any time.
The FWC also is proposing technical rule amendments
that would allow qualified blue crab harvesters to designate
another of their own vessels to be used to temporarily pull blue
crab traps while their regular vessel is repaired or replaced and
clarify that soft shell blue crab harvesters may hold only two soft
shell endorsements at one time.
The FWC will hold a final public hearing on these
blue crab draft rule proposals at its December meeting in Weston.
More information regarding the proposed draft rules is available
online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the Sept. 1-3 meeting