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Recreational Blue Crabbing

 blue crab

 Blue Crab: Callinectes sapidus

Florida Regulations:

RegulationsGulf State WatersAtlantic State Waters
Size Limit

None

 
Daily Bag Limit

 10 gallons whole per harvester per day

 

*Harvest of egg-bearing crabs prohibited

 

Gear Requirements:

Trap Specificationsblue crab trap diagram

Trapping Regulations

 State Waters Trap Closures:

Sept. 20 - Oct. 4 closed to traps in Gulf state waters beyond 3 miles and in federal waters.

 

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 six 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 occurring during the even numbered years and closures on the west coast occurring on the odd years.

blue crab trap closure zones 

Even Year Closures

 Blue crab zones west coast

Odd Year Closures

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. 

For more information:

Can female blue crabs be harvested?blue crab with eggs

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.

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