TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Recreational and commercial stone crab harvest season begins Oct. 15 and goes through May 1, closing May 2, 2022.
The minimum claw size limit is 2 7/8 inches.
Florida Fish and Wildlife reminds everyone plastic and wood stone crab traps will need to be outfitted with a 2 3/16-inch escape ring before the 2023/2024 season.
Recreational Trap Registration
Recreational harvesters 16 and older and fishermen with traps are required to complete an online, no-cost recreational stone crab trap registration each year.
To register, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com sign in, click the “Click here to get a License!” tile, scroll down to the “Saltwater Fishing” section, and select “Recreational Stone Crab Trap Registration.”
Upon completion, each person will receive unique trap registration numbers that must be included on each trap along with the owner’s full name and address. This information must be legible and must be permanently attached to each trap.
Other tips and regulations
Care should be taken when removing the claws so as to not permanently injure the crab.
Claws may not be taken from egg-bearing stone crabs. Stone crabs may not be harvested with any device that can puncture, crush or injure a crab’s body. Examples of devices that can cause this kind of damage include spears and hooks.
Recreational harvesters may take a daily bag limit of 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less, and may use up to five stone crab traps per person.
Recreational and commercial traps may be baited and placed in the water Oct. 5 but traps may not be pulled and claws may not be harvested or possessed until Oct. 15. Traps that are not being fished should be removed from the water to avoid ghost fishing, a process in which marine species get caught in the trap for extended periods of time and are not harvested.
Stone crab regulations are the same in state and federal waters.