FWC proposes extension of stone crab protection into federal waters
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed draft rules on Wednesday
that would extend its state management regulations for stone crab
into federal waters off Florida.
Currently, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery
Management Council has a federal fishery management plan in place
for stone crabs. The Council recently voted to recommend the
repeal of this plan to NOAA Fisheries Service (which has
jurisdiction to manage stone crabs in federal waters) because the
stone crab fishery is centered in Florida and the FWC already plays
a leading role in stone crab stock assessments and management.
Most of the stone crab fishery occurs
in state waters off Florida, and existing federal regulations for
stone crab are the same as the FWC's rules. NOAA Fisheries
Service intends to repeal the federal stone crab fishery management
plan before this fall's opening of stone crab season on Oct.
The proposed FWC rules also would
eliminate a federal form that would no longer be required after
repeal of the federal stone crab plan.
The FWC will hold a final public hearing
on the proposed stone crab rules in June and would apply the rules
immediately upon repeal of the federal stone crab fishery