Commercial Regulations for Stone Crab

 Stone crab claws must be at least 2 3/4 inches in length when measured from the elbow to the tip of the lower immovable portion of the claw.

STONE CRAB: Menippe mercenaria or Menippe adina

Commercial Regulations: 

Regulations Gulf State Waters   Atlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit  Claws harvested only: 2 3/4 inches; no egg-bearing females
Bag Limit  None; Incidental bycatch 5 gallons 
Season  Closed May 16 - Oct. 14 (see *Note below)

*Note: Traps may be placed in the water and baited 10 days prior to the opening of the stone crab season. Please be aware that once placed, you may not tend to the traps until the start of the season, at which time you may begin harvesting. Traps must be removed within five days after the close of the stone crab season.

License Requirements: Not a Mobile-Enabled Link

Saltwater Products License (SPL), Restricted Species Endorsement (RS) and Stone Crab Endorsement (X)

Legal Gear:

  • Traps made from either wood, plastic or wire

Illegal gear:

  • Cannot use any device to puncture, crush or injure the crab body.
  • Live stone crabs that are not immediately returned to the water must be kept in shaded containers and kept damp. 

Trap specifications:StoneCrabTrapcomm.jpg

  • Maximum trap size is 24 inches by 24 inches by 24 inches or a volume of 8 cubic feet
  • Traps can be made from either wood, wire or plastic
  • The throat or entrance must be 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches
  • If the throat or entrance is round, it cannot exceed 5 inches in diameter
  • Plastic traps must have a degradable pane that is 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches and is made of cypress or untreated pine slat no thicker than ¾ of an inch
  • Wire traps must have at least three unobstructed escape rings (2 3/8 inches in diameter) located on a vertical side of the trap.
  • A stone crab trap tag must be permanently affixed
  • The buoy must be no smaller than 6 inches and must be marked with a legible blue crab endorsement number that is at least 2 inches tall

Trap regulations:

  • May only be worked during daylight hours. 
  • Traps are prohibited in all navigation channels of Inland Coastal Waterways or channels marked by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard or state, county or local goverments.
  • Pulling another person's trap without express consent of the owner and FWC Law Enforcement is prohibited. 
  • No more than two stone crab endorsement numbers (X) shall be used on a single vessel.

Can both stone crab claws be harvested?

Both claws of a stone crab may be Stone Crabharvested 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 help the crab 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 one.




FWC Facts:
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