NEW: The FWC Commission approved a draft rule on stone crab trap gear specifications. This rule will come back before the Commission in June for a final public hearing. Learn more.
STONE CRAB: Menippe mercenaria or Menippe adina
||Gulf State Waters
|| Atlantic State Waters
|Minimum Size Limit
|| Claws harvested only: 2 3/4 inches; no egg-bearing females
|| None; Incidental bycatch 5 gallons
|| Closed May 16 - Oct. 14 (see *Note below)
*Note: Traps may be placed in the water and baited 10 days prior to the opening of the stone crab season. Please be aware that once placed, you may not tend to the traps until the start of the season, at which time you may begin harvesting. Traps must be removed within five days after the close of the stone crab season.
Saltwater Products License (SPL), Restricted Species Endorsement (RS) and Stone Crab Endorsement (X)
- Traps made from either wood, plastic or wire
- Cannot use any device to puncture, crush or injure the crab body.
- Live stone crabs that are not immediately returned to the water must be kept in shaded containers and kept damp.
- 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
- May only be worked during daylight hours.
- Traps are prohibited in all navigation channels of Inland Coastal Waterways or channels marked by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard or state, county or local governments.
- Pulling another person's trap without express consent of the owner and FWC Law Enforcement is prohibited.
- No more than two stone crab endorsement numbers (X) shall be used on a single vessel.
Can both stone crab claws be harvested?
Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested if they are of legal size. Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab's claws, this practice leaves the stone crab with few alternatives to defend itself from predators. Although the crab can still obtain minimal amounts of food with no claws, having one claw (if the other one is harvested) will help the crab obtain greater amounts of food in a shorter amount of time. Stone crabs (like other crustaceans) have the ability to grow back their claws, but this process requires a large amount of energy in the form of food. The quicker the crab can obtain the energy required to molt and grow its lost claw, the sooner this renewable delicacy will have another claw to replace the missing one.