It is important to be aware of the area around you when setting traps. You should keep a good distance from any traps already set and it is recommended to keep at least 50’ away from other buoys. If existing traps are set in a line, do not cross thru the existing set when placing traps.
Frequently Ask Questions
What Stoners Really Want to Know!
Yes. To recreationally harvest Stone Crabs, you must have a valid Florida Saltwater Recreational Fishing License. Go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Website for more information on obtaining a Florida Saltwater Recreational Fishing License.
Yes. In Florida, the Stone Crab season starts October 15 and runs thru May 15. Traps can be set 10 days prior to the opening of the season but crabs cannot be harvested prior to the start of the season or after the close of the season.
No. Only legal-sized claws can be harvested. The crab must be safely returned to the water. The crab will grow new claw(s) and that’s what makes this a renewable resource. It is important to know how to properly harvest claw(s) because if done incorrectly, it can mortality injure the crab and it will die after it is released back into the water. There is a video on the FWC website on how to harvest claw(s) without injuring the crab.
Claws must measure a minimum of 2 ¾ “ in length. The measurement is end-to-end on the bottom side of the claw (from the knuckle connecting it to the forearm to the end of the bottom pincher). You must measure the claw before removing it from the crab. There are pictures of how to measure the claw on the FWC website. There are inexpensive measuring tools available to ensure only legal claws are harvested. Check your local fishing supply store for more information.
Yes. Both claws can be harvested if they are of legal size. However, harvesting both claws limits this renewable resource’s ability to protect itself and catch food. Harvesting only one claw provides a better chance for the crab to survive to regrow its claw that can be harvested once it is of legal size.
Yes. Harvesting claws from an egg-bearing female crab is illegal. The crab must be released unharmed. Female crabs carry their eggs underneath their body and the eggs are usually brown or orange.
Yes. The daily bag limit is 1 gallon per fisherman or 2 gallons per boat, whichever is less. Both the bag limit and size limit apply in Gulf State and Atlantic State waters.
It is legal to catch Stone Crabs in a trap, or with a dip or landing net. Any device (i.e. spear, hooks, other) which can damage or crush the crab’s shell is illegal. All crabs must be released back into the water after harvesting claw(s).
Yes. Each recreational fisherman is allowed to set up to 5 traps.
Yes. See the FWC website for information on trap specifications and requirements.
Yes. Traps can only be pulled during daylight hours. Recreational fishermen are prohibited from having mechanical devices (i.e. winches) to assist in raising the traps up to the boat. Traps must be pulled up manually.
Yes. Traps should not be placed in navigational channels. These could include county, municipal, or state marked waterways. It is also important not to set traps in areas of high boat traffic. This increases the probability that a buoy may be hit and damaged to where the trap is no longer visible or retrievable from the surface.
Unless you possess a commercial license to harvest and sell Stone Crabs, it is illegal to sell recreationally harvested claws.
Although there are no specific laws regarding the following topics, it is important to understand the “unwritten rules of the water” so that everyone can enjoy this resource. There are many commercial fishermen who make their living harvesting stone crabs and many recreational fishermen who harvest stone crabs as a sport and it is important that we all understand and respect one another.