Buying or Selling Trap Tags/Certificates

Overview - Buying or selling trap tags

To receive a quantity of trap tags, you must have an equal quantity of spiny lobster or stone crab trap certificates on account with the FWC or hold an active blue endorsement.  The FWC will issue tags only to spiny lobster or stone crab trap certificate and blue crab endorsement holders who are properly licensed and have paid all certificate fees and other outstanding amounts owed to the FWC.  Spiny lobster and stone crab certificates and blue crab endorsement numbers were initially allotted on the basis of a person's landings during a specified period of time.

The FWC does not sell trap tags

Commercial fishermen must purchase spiny lobster or stone crab trap certificates and blue crab endorsement numbers from other fishermen.  Check ads in newspapers to find certificates and/or blue crab endorsements that are for sale. 

What you should know before you buy or sell trap certificates or a blue crab endorsement

Are the seller's spiny lobster or stone crab trap certificates available?  Are the seller's Saltwater Products License (SPL) and endorsements active?  Have all fees, fines and other amounts owed to the FWC been paid?

The seller must have paid all current and past certificate, license, and other fees owed to the FWC and hold an active SPL, a Restricted Species Endorsement (RS), and a Stone Crab Endorsement (X), Spiny Lobster (Crawfish) Endorsement (C), or a blue crab (V-H or V-S) endorsement.  However, an RS is not required if the seller of spiny lobster or stone crab trap certificates is selling all his certificates and getting out of the fishery.

Licenses and Fees

A non-transferable blue crab effort management endorsement (V-N) cannot be sold or otherwise transferred.

To check the status of a trap certificate or license account, contact the Commercial Saltwater Licensing program at 850-487-3122 or SPLMAIL@MyFWC.com.

A complete copy of the applicable rules can be found in Chapter 379, Florida Statutes and Chapters 68B and 68E, Florida Administrative Code, or by contacting the licensing program.

Blue Crab Endorsements, and Spiny Lobster and Stone Crab trap certificates may be transferred only between May 1 and the last day of February.

You must submit a signed and completed bill of sale and Certificate Transfer Application or Blue Crab Endorsement Transfer Form and all applicable fees before the specified certificates or endorsement will be transferred from the seller to you.  The documents must have been notarized no longer than 72 hours prior to receipt by the FWC.

Application and Transfer Forms

Upon transfer, the number of stone crab certificates sold will be reduced by 18.5 percent.  Spiny lobster certificates will be reduced by 10 percent.  Therefore, only the remaining certificates will be available to the buyer.

The buyer must hold an SPL with the applicable endorsements and pay a $2 certificate transfer fee for each spiny lobster trap certificate and a $1 certificate transfer fee for each stone crab certificate available after reduction.  Crew members, with proper documentation may be eligible for a 50 cent transfer fee on stone crab certificates only.

A blue crab endorsement buyer who does not possess a blue crab endorsement, must complete a 14-day apprenticeship program working with a blue crab endorsement holder fishing for blue crab and submit a Blue Crab Effort Management Endorsement Apprenticeship Form.

When a spiny lobster or stone crab certificate is transferred outside the original certificate holder's immediate family for the first time, the buyer must also pay a surcharge on each available certificate ($1 for stone crab/$5 for spiny lobster) or 25 percent of the actual price paid for the available certificates, whichever is more.

After your spiny lobster or stone crab trap certificate account has been established, the FWC will assess annual certificate fees (50 cents per stone crab certificate/$1 per spiny lobster certificate).  Stone crab certificate fees that remain unpaid for three (3) fishing years revert to the FWC at the beginning of the fourth fishing year.  Spiny lobster certificate fees that remain unpaid for two (2) years revert to the FWC at the beginning of the third fishing year.

After your blue crab effort management endorsement number is issued, blue crab trap tags may be ordered at a cost of 50 cents each.  Blue crab tags ordered from February 1 through March 15 will be shipped in bulk.  Blue crab tags after March 15 will be shipped in blocks of 50 tags.  Blue crab endorsements renewed after September 30 will not be renewed and will be forfeited to the FWC.

This Web page was prepared for informational purposes only and was updated in July 2009.  As always, commercial fishers should consult current statutes and fishing regulations, which are subject to change. 

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