FWC Press Release

Contact: Lee Schlesinger, (850) 487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved rules on Thursday to make it easier to recover or remove lobster and crab traps from state waters under certain conditions. The FWC also passed a rule to allow recreational fishers to use fold-up traps of any shape to harvest blue crabs.

The new rules will help spiny lobster, stone crab and blue crab fishers recover their traps following major storms by letting licensed trap fishers designate people to recover and possess their traps when the governor and FWC declare an emergency.

The rules also exempt local, state or federal officials from having to get FWC approval before removing traps and trap debris from areas where trapping is prohibited and modify the current definition of a derelict trap to account for a requirement that blue crab traps must now be marked with FWC trap tags.

In addition, the Commission approved rules to allow recreational fishers to use fold-up blue crab traps up to one cubic foot in volume that are not necessarily pyramid-shaped and delete a current provision limiting the base panel of fold-up traps to one square foot.

“These rules will help commercial fishers work together to recover traps after major storms, make it easier for officials to remove illegal traps and debris from places where they aren’t allowed, and let recreational fishers use more than one kind of fold-up trap to catch blue crabs,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.