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
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
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)
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.
Blue Crab Rule (68B-45 F.A.C.)
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