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Commercial Trap Design and Vessel Marking

Black Sea Bass

Example of a standard commercial black sea bass trap

Maximum trap size is 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet or a volume of 8 cubic feet

Mesh size must be 1 1/2 inches or larger

The throat or entrance must not exceed 5 inches by 2 inches at its narrowest point

Must have at least two unobstructed escape rings (rectangular: 1 1/8 inch by 5 3/4 inch; circular: 2 inches in diameter; square: 1 3/4 inches measured inside the square) located on a vertical side of the trap

Atlantic Ocean traps in the water or on board a vessel must have a valid ID tag issued by NOAA Fisheries

The buoy must be no smaller than 6 inches and must be marked with a legible "B" and the owners SPL number at least 1 1/2 inches tall

NEW (5/30/2017): Buoy lines attached to sea bass traps must comply with marking, weak link, and breaking strength requirements for adjacent federal waters (please refer to 50 C.F.R. 622.189(g))

Blue Crab

Example of a standard commercial blue crab trap

Maximum trap size is 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet or a volume of 8 cubic feet

Mesh size must be 1 1/2 inches or larger

The throat or entrance cannot extend farther than 6 inches into the inside of any trap

Must have at least three escape rings, one of each located on a vertical outer surface adjacent to each chamber

Escape rings must be larger than 2 3/8 inches.

The trap must have a degradable panel larger than 3 inches by 6 inches

Types of degradable panels include: untreated jute twine, non-coated steel wire measuring 24 gauge or thinner, untreated pine dowel no larger than 2 inches in length by 3/8 inch in diameter or untreated pine slats no thicker than 3/8 inch

A blue 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

Pinfish

Example of a standard pinfish trap

Maximum trap size is 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet or a volume of 8 cubic feet

It is not required but it is recommended that some form of owner contact information is attached to the trap

Throat or entrance should not exceed 3 inches in height by 3/4 inches in width

A buoy is not required but is recommended for preventing loss of the trap

Spiny Lobster

Example of a wood commercial Spiny Lobster trap

Traps must be constructed of wood or plastic

Plastic traps must have a degradable panel.

Refer to the official rules before building or buying traps.

Wood slat traps must be no larger than 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet or a volume of 12 cubic feet

These traps shall be constructed with wood slats that are a minimum of 1 ¼ inches wide with a maximum spacing between slats of 2 ¼ inches

The throat or entrance must be larger than 6 inches by 3 ½ inches and must be located in the top horizontal section of the trap

A spiny lobster trap tag must be permanently affixed

The buoy must be no smaller than 6 inches and must be marked with a legible spiny lobster endorsement number that is at least 2 inches tall

Stone Crab

Example of a standard plastic commercial stone crab trap

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

The throat or entrance must be 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches

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

Vessel

Commercial trap boat identification chart

(applies to commercial stone crab, blue crab and lobster vessels)

Endorsement numbers on side of vessel must be at least 4 inches tall

The buoy color must be displayed on the side of the vessel in an 8 inch in diameter circle outlined in contrasting color

When viewing the vessel from the air, the buoy color must be displayed in a 20 inch diameter circle outlined in contrasting color with the endorsement number affixed beneath in numerals 10 inches tall or larger