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Recreational blue crab trap registration starts Jan. 1

FWC Update

December 23, 2019
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, recreational harvesters age 16 and older who fish with blue crab traps will need to complete an online, no-cost recreational blue crab trap registration before placing their traps in the water. A similar requirement has been in effect for recreational stone crab traps since Oct. 15.

This no-cost registration will allow the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commis-sion to collect needed important information about this recreational fishery for future stock assessments and management decisions.

To register, visit (the FWC licensing system) and add the Recreational Blue Crab Trap Registration to your account. All recreational harvesters who are age 16 or older and fish with blue crab traps, including those harvesters that are otherwise exempt from needing a saltwater fishing license, are required to complete this no-cost online trap registration.

Upon completion, each person will receive a series of five unique trap registration numbers, one for each of the five traps the person may fish under the recreational blue crab fishing regulations. Each trap placed in the water must be marked with one of these registration numbers along with the owner's full name and address. Registration numbers for blue crab traps will begin with the letter "B." This information must be legible and must be permanently attached to each trap.

When marking traps, it is important to use materials that will withstand being submerged in salt water. For example, engraved metal or plastic pet tags and laminated cards are much better options than a piece of plastic that has been marked with permanent ink or paint.

Learn more about crab regulations at, and click on "Recreational Regulations" and "Blue Crab" or "Stone Crab" under "Crabs, Shrimp and Shellfish."

Changes to spotted seatrout rules OK'd

At its meeting recently in Panama City Beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved several rule changes for spotted seatrout, one of Florida's most popular inshore fisheries. Based on the results of a recent stock assessment and after hearing concerns from anglers, FWC worked with stakeholders to create a suite of regulatory changes that would benefit the spotted seatrout as well as continue to provide quality fishing opportunities.

The following rules will go into effect Feb. 1, 2020:

n Creating two new zones by splitting the Northwest spotted seatrout management zone into the:

- Western Panhandle (Es-cambia County through the portions of Gulf County west of longitude 85 degrees, 13.76 minutes but NOT including Indian Pass/Indian Lagoon).

- Big Bend (remaining portion of Gulf County plus Indian Lagoon, and Franklin County through Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County).

n Creating the renamed South Florida zone (Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County near the Pasco County line through Broward County) and Central East zone (Palm Beach through Volusia counties) by moving the boundary between the southern management zones.

n Reducing bag limits

- Western Panhandle: five to three fish.

- Big Bend: no change (remains five fish).

- South Florida: four to three fish.

- Central East: four to two fish.

- Northeast: six to five fish.

n Modifying the recreational slot size limit from 15-to-20 inches to 15-to-19 inches total length.

n Allowing one seatrout over 19 inches per vessel (currently per harvester).

n Prohibiting captain and crew from keeping a bag limit on a for-hire trip.

n Re-establishing the February recreational closure in the Western Panhandle zone and the November-December recreational closure in the Central East zone.

n Reducing the current daily commercial limits to 50 per harvester and 100 per vessel.

n Removing an unnecessary commercial reporting form.

Learn more about spotted seatrout by visiting and clicking on "Recreational Regulations" and "Spotted Seatrout."



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