News Releases

FWC proposes changes to blue crab rules

News Release

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 agenda.



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