Florida Regulations:

    Blue Crab Trap Harvest Regional Closed Seasons

    In an effort to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps from Florida, the FWC has
    established regional blue crab trap closures.  These 6 regional closures last up to 10 days and
    prohibit recreational and commercial harvest of blue crabs with traps in these areas. The closures
    alternate coasts every year with closures on the east coast of Florida occuring during the even
    numbered years and closures on the west coast occuring on the odd years.

    Even Year Closures

    All waters of the St. Johns River system from January 16-25*
    All waters from the Georgia/Florida state line, excluding the St. Johns River system, south through
    Volusia County from August 20-29**
    All waters of Brevard through Palm Beach counties, excluding the St. Johns River system, from
    August 10-19

    Odd Year Closures

    All waters of Franklin County to the Florida/Alabama state line however, excluding all waters of the
    Ochlockonee River and Bay, from January 5-14
    All waters of Broward through Pasco Counties from July 10-19
    All waters of Hernando through Wakulla counties including all waters of the Ochlockonee River and
    Bay from July 20-29

    * All waters of the St. Johns River, its associated lakes and tributaries from west of the St. Johns
    River's intersection with the Intercoastal Canal through and including Lake Helen of Blazes.

    ** Except all waters of the St. Johns River system.

    These closed seasons only apply to standard blue crab traps.  The harvest of blue crabs by other
    gear, such as dip nets and fold-up traps, is permitted during the closures. Traps that are attached
    to private property such as a dock are not included in the closures. There is also an existing blue
    crab trap harvest closure three to nine miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico from September 20
    through October 4 each year.

    Blue Crab Restrictions
  • Harvest of females holding eggs or sponge crabs is prohibited
  • No minimum or maximum size limits
  • Bag limit of 10 gallons of whole blue crabs per person, per day

    Licensing Requirements
    A recreational fishing license is required to harvest blue crabs, unless you qualify for an
    exemption.  Crabbers who use traps, baskets, crab nets, dip nets or landing nets will need to have
    fishing licenses. See Shoreline Fishing FAQs for more information.

    Allowable Harvesting (Gear)
  • Maximum of 5 blue crab traps per person as described in the summary of blue crab
    trapping rules below
  • Dip or landing net
  • Drop net
  • A fold up trap with a volume of no more than one cubic foot
  • Hook and line push scrape
  • Trotline

    Trapping Rules
  • Five trap maximum per person
  • Buoy must have a legible "R" at least two inches high, permanently affixed to it. Buoys are
    not required if trap is fished from a dock.
  • Trap shall have harvesters name and address permanently affixed to it in legible letters.
  • Traps must be pulled manually (not by a mechanical trap puller). Any vessel that is rigged
    with a trap puller will be considered a commercial vessel and the appropriate licenses will
    be required.
  • Traps must be pulled only during daylight hours.
  • Traps must not be placed in navigational channels of the Intracoastal waterways, or in
    navigational channels maintained and marked by any county, municipal, state or federal
    governmental agency.
  • No harvest allowed with any trap out of state waters (seaward of nine nautical miles from
    shore in the Gulf of Mexico or seaward of three nautical miles from shore in the Atlantic
  • A Florida recreational fishing license is required to harvest blue crabs under the
    recreational fishing regulations.
  • Blue crab trap specifications are the same for recreational and commercial harvesters.
    Trap specifications may be found in Rule 68B-45.004, Florida Administrative Code.

    Can female blue crabs be harvested?
    Female blue crabs may be harvested lawfully if they are not bearing eggs. Although it is lawful to
    keep non-egg bearing female blue crabs, it is a conservation practice to release them unharmed.
    There has been evidence that the females support the population of the species. Male crabs are
    capable of mating several times, but females are only able to mate once, after they mature.

    If a juvenile female is harvested, there will be no chance that she will be able to reproduce.  
    Additionally, mature females may store sperm in their bodies for several months after mating in
    order to spawn at a later date. If a mature female is harvested, though she may not exhibit eggs,
    there is no certainty that she has spawned.

    Releasing female blue crabs enhances reproductive capacity and population renewal.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
    620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
    32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676

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Blue Crab Recreational Harvest Regulations
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Closed Season
Daily Bag Limit
Sept. 20 - Oct. 4
closed to traps in Gulf
state waters beyond 3
miles and in federal

Also closed regionally.
See regional closures
10 gallons whole per
harvester per day
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