Tallahassee, FL-Recreational and commercial blue crab traps may be placed back in state waters (shore to 3 nautical miles, including intracoastal waterways) from Brevard through Palm Beach counties starting today, Aug. 16. Blue crab traps must be removed from all state waters from the Georgia-Florida line through Volusia County prior to Aug. 20. This closure is slated to end Aug. 29. All waters of the St. Johns River system are excluded in these closures.
These 10-day trap closures give groups authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the opportunity to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps from the water.
The Brevard through Palm Beach county closure started Aug. 10 and ended early because efforts to remove lost and abandoned traps were completed.
During blue crab trap closures, blue crabs may be harvested with other gear, such as dip nets and fold-up traps. Blue crab harvesters may also use standard blue crab traps during the closure if the traps are attached to a dock or other private property.
Lost and abandoned blue crab traps are a problem in the blue crab fishery because they can continue to trap crabs and fish when left in the water. They can also damage sensitive habitats and pose navigational hazards to boaters on the water.
There are three regional, 10-day, blue crab trap closures that occur in 2016 on the Atlantic coast of Florida. There are six regional closures total: three in odd-numbered years on the west coast and three in even-numbered years on the east coast.
For more information regarding the FWC’s trap-retrieval program, blue crab trap closure dates, regulations and cleanup events, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” then “Trap & Debris”). For additional information, contact the FWC’s trap-retrieval coordinator, Pamela Gruver, at 850-487-0554.