FWC approves changes to blue crab rules
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) approved a series of rule amendments Thursday to
modify certain blue crab regulations. In 2009, the FWC established
the annual, regional closures to all harvest of blue crabs with
traps to help identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab
traps from Florida waters. The FWC now believes that
staggering these closures every other year will help focus trap
cleanup efforts in each region and lessen the economic impact of
the closures on individual crabbers.
The January closures in the St. Johns River system
and in Franklin through Escambia counties will take place as
scheduled in 2011. Thereafter, the St. Johns closure will occur in
even-numbered years and the Franklin-Escambia closure will occur in
odd-numbered years. In addition, the August closures in
Nassau through Palm Beach counties will take place in even-numbered
years, and the July closures in Broward through Wakulla counties
will occur in odd-numbered years.
Other new rule amendments change the blue crab
license endorsement transfer window from September through December
to May through February to increase opportunities for crabbers to
transfer their endorsements to someone else and allow initial blue
crab trap tags to be ordered at any time.
The new rules also will allow qualified blue crab
harvesters to designate another of their own vessels to be used to
temporarily pull blue crab traps while their regular vessel is
repaired or replaced and clarify that soft shell blue crab
harvesters may hold only two soft shell endorsements at one
The new rules take effect on Jan. 26, 2011.