Sunday, October 10, 2010
The commercial stone crab fishery is managed by a seven month open season (October 15-May 15), minimum claw size requirement (2 3/4 inches), trap specifications, and a passive trap limitation program. Female crabs with eggs are also prohibited from being harvested.
The fact that only the claws are taken and the crab is not killed helps ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Fishing pressure, however, remains high and this is reflected by a general decreasing trend in catch-per-trap over time. For example between the 1962-63 and 2001-02 seasons the number of traps used in the fishery increased 100 fold from 15,000 traps to 1.6 million traps (In 2002 the state legislature implemented a trap limitation program to reduce the number of trap entering the fishery). Estimates for stone crab population distribution, abundance, and recruitment patterns, however, have remained steady for the past 20 to 30 years.
Posted by Collier County Sea Grant Agent at 4:26 PM