Bycatch Reduction Devices Required On All Recreational Blue Crab Traps

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Saving the Diamondback Terrapin
CrabbyIn an effort to help preserve the diamondback terrapin species in Florida, the FWC adopted new requirements for those trapping blue crabs recreationally. The new rules, effective March 1, 2023, require blue crab traps to be fitted with bycatch reduction devices installed on trap throats or trap throats must meet new size and construction requirements. The goal of the bycatch reduction device is to keep the turtles from drowning in crab fishing gear.

The diamondback terrapin is a coastal turtle species found statewide in coastal marshes, tidal creeks, mangroves and other brackish and estuarine habitats Approximately five diamondback terrapin subspecies are found in Florida, with three of those subspecies exclusive to our state.

Trap Registration Requirements
Recreational fishers age 16 and older are required to complete an online, no-cost recreation blue and stone crab trap registration before using blue or stone crab traps. Those normally exempt from a license are also required to register traps.

The no-cost registration can be done online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. Simply add the Recreational Blue Crab Trap Registration or the Recreational Stone Crab Trap Registration to your account. Following registration, each person will receive unique trap registration numbers that must be included on each trap along with the owner’s full name and address. Registration will allow FWC to collect important information about these recreational fisheries needed for future stock assessments and management decisions.

Traps must be registered annually in Florida. Each trap will be given a unique registration number that will not change year-to-year.

Bycatch Reduction Devices
For those who have registered with FWC, the Bay County Tax Collector’s Office has a limited supply of bycatch reduction devices available. These will be offered on a first come, first serve basis.

Additional information regarding recreational blue crab trap requirements and regulations can be found on myfwc.com.

Information in this article is courtesy of myfwc.com.