FWC Commission trap fisheries update
At the June 20 meeting in Sarasota, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several draft changes to recreational and commercial trap fisheries rules and directed staff to come back to the September meeting for a final public hearing. Approved draft changes include: creating a mandatory, no-cost annual recreational blue crab and stone crab trap registration for trap fishers age 16 and older and requiring trap identification numbers to be placed on recreational traps; increasing the time allowed for commercial lobster fishers to remove spiny lobster traps from the water after the season ends from five days to 10 days; and starting the commercial spiny lobster trap soak period the Saturday following the recreational mini-season (which occurs the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July). To share your input on these potential changes, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. The spiny lobster trap soak period will go into effect prior to the 2018 season via executive order.
The FWC held eight public workshops across the state in May to gather input on these proposed changes and gathered input online via the MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments page. The FWC will be continuing to work with commercial trap fishing industry to improve management of these fisheries.