Florida Keys Recreational Stone Crabbing Information

Stone Crab Limits - No Females With Eggs - 2 3/4 Inch Claw

Open Season is October 15 through May 15

Bag Limit - 1 Gallon Of Claws Per Person or 2 Gallons Per Vessel, Whichever Is Less

Stone Crab Harvesting Gear

It is unlawful to use any device on the taking of stone crabs that can puncture, crush, or injure the crab body, such as spears, grains, grabs, hooks, or similar devices

Maximum of five (5) stone crabs traps per person as described in the summary of stone crab trapping rules below

Stone Crab Trapping Rules

  • Five trap maximum
  • Buoy must have a legible "R" at least two inches high, permanently affixed to it.
  • Buoys are not required if trap is fished from a dock.
  • Trap shall have harvesters name and address permanently affixed to it in legible letters.
  • Traps must be pulled manually (not by a trap puller). Any vessel that is rigged with a trap puller will be considered a commercial vessel and the appropriate licenses will be required.
  • Traps must be pulled only during daylight hours.
  • Traps must not be placed in navigational channels of the intracoastal waterways, or in navigational channels maintained and marked by any county, municipal, state or federal governmental agency.
  • A Florida recreational fishing license is required to harvest stone crabs under the recreational fishing regulations.
  • Stone crab trap specifications are the same for recreational and commercial harvesters. Trap specifications may be found in Rule 68B-13.008, Florida Administrative Code

Can both stone crab claws be harvested?

Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested lawfully if they are of legal size. Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab's claws this practice leaves the stone crab with few alternatives to defend itself from predators. Although the crab can still obtain minimal amounts of food with no claws, having one claw (if the other one is harvested) will enable the crab to obtain greater amounts of food in a shorter amount of time. Stone crabs (like other crustaceans) have the ability to grow back their claws, but this process requires a large amount of energy in the form of food. The quicker the crab can obtain the energy required to molt and grow its lost claw, the sooner this renewable delicacy will have another claw to replace the missing claw.

How to Measure Stone Crab

Stone Crab claws must measure at least 2 3/4-inches in length measured by a straight line from the elbow to the tip of the lower immovable finger. The forearm (propodus) shall be deemed to be the largest section of the claw assembly that has both a moveable and immovable finger and is located farthest from the body of the crab.

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