FWC News Release

August 13, 2009
Contact: Kyle Miller, (850) 487-0554

Harvest of blue crabs from traps will not be allowed Aug. 20-29 in waters from the Florida/Georgia border through Volusia County, except in the St. Johns River system. This closure will give authorized groups the opportunity to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps from the coastal and inland waters in this area.

All commercial and recreational blue crab traps within three nautical miles of shore in the closed area of the Atlantic Ocean and inland waters must be removed during the 10-day closed period.

Harvest of blue crabs by other gear, such as dip nets and fold-up traps, may continue during the closure. The closure applies to recreational harvesters who use standard blue crab traps, unless the traps are attached to private property.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cites lost and abandoned traps as a problem in the blue crab fishery, because they can continue to trap crabs and fish when they are not maintained. Also, they can be unsightly in the marine environment, damage sensitive habitats and pose navigational hazards to boaters.

Lost and abandoned traps cannot easily be distinguished from legal traps, so they often remain in the water indefinitely.

Six regional, 10-day blue crab trap closures take place in Florida at different times during the year.

More information regarding the FWC's trap-retrieval program, blue crab trap closure dates, regulations and how you can participate in cleanup events is available online at www.MyFWC.com/RULESANDREGS/SaltwaterTraps_index.htm

Interested persons also can contact the FWC's trap retrieval coordinator, Kyle Miller, at 850-487-0554.