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Blue Crab Regulations for Recreational Harvest

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Requirements for Recreational Blue Crab Harvest

  • Recreational saltwater fishing license.
  • No more than 10 gallons of blue crab per day can be harvested or possessed.
  • Egg-bearing blue crabs must be released.

Allowable Gear

Dip or landing net; dropnet; fold-up trap; hook-and-line gear; push scrape; trotline; trap less than 1 cubic ft. in volume fished from a vessel, dock, or shore; and commercial-style or standard traps.

Blue Crab Traps

  • If you are using commercial style traps you are allowed to use no more than 5 traps per person.
  • Each trap must have a mesh size of 1.5 inches.
  • Throats may only be located on vertical surfaces and may reach into the trap no more than 6 inches.
  • Maximum dimension is 2 ft. x 2 ft. x 2 ft. or have a volume of 8 cubic ft. or less.
  • Traps must have a buoy that is made of Styrofoam, cork, PVC, or polystyrene and be a bright color that can be easily distinguished, seen, and located. The buoy must be spherical in shape and be no less than 6 inches in diameter or some other shape that is no shorter than 10 inches in the longest dimension and the width at some point must exceed 5 inches, each buoy must have a legible “R” written on it (stands for recreational) at least 2 inches in height, and no more than 5 ft. of line can float on the surface of the water. Buoy requirements do not apply to traps tied to private property, such as a dock.
  • Each trap must have at least three unobstructed escape rings with an inside diameter of 23/8 inches and at least one ring must be placed adjacent to each crab retaining chamber on a vertical surface.
  • Each trap must have the harvester’s name and address permanently affixed.
  • Traps may only be worked from 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunset.

Closures to the Use of Traps Used to Harvest Blue Crabs

  • There are six regional closed seasons to the harvest of blue crabs with traps to help clean up Florida’s waters. Traps that remain in the water will be removed and disposed of by FWC.
  • The closures apply only to standard recreational and commercial blue crab traps.
  • During the closures, these traps must be removed from the water.
  • The harvest of blue crabs by other gears, such as dip nets and fold-up traps, is allowed during the closures.
  • The closures apply to recreational harvesters who use standard blue crab traps unless the traps are attached to private property, such as a dock.
  • Closures will extend from the shoreline out to 3 nautical miles and include all inland waters in these regions.2
  • Florida Statutes prohibit tampering with, collecting from or moving traps that are not yours, even during the below closures (F.S. 379.366(4)(b)).

1 All waters of the St. Johns River, its associated lakes and tributaries from west of the St. Johns River’s intersection with the Intracoastal Canal through and including Lake Hellen Blazes.

2 All other coastal waters from the Georgia/Florida line south through Volusia County.

3 All waters of Brevard through Palm Beach counties.

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