Florida’s recreational and commercial stone crab claw harvest season opens Oct. 15 in state and federal waters.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to be harvested, 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 (see illustration).
Claws may not be taken from egg-bearing female stone crabs. Recreational harvesters can use up to five stone crab traps per person. Stone crabs may not be harvested with any device that can puncture, crush or injure the crab body, according to a news release.
Examples of devices that can cause this kind of damage include spears and hooks. Recreational and commercial traps may be baited and placed in the water 10 days prior to the opening of the season but may not be pulled from the water for harvest purposes until Oct. 15.
There is a recreational daily bag limit of one gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less. The season will be open through May 15, 2013.
Stone crab regulations are the same in state and federal waters.