Florida Blue Crab


Male Blue Crab The blue crab industry is one of the top five most valuable fisheries of Florida and has been a vital part of the fishing culture since at least the 1800s. In 2015 4.7 million pounds of blue crab were landed worth $8.32 million in dockside value. Currently, Florida is the second largest producer of blue crab in the Gulf of Mexico after Louisiana. This state is unique in that it must manage two separate stocks of blue crab from each side of the state - the Atlantic stock and the Gulf stock. The Gulf stock is the larger of the two with 70% of blue crab landings.

Sustainability efforts from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have been in place since 1941, enforcing minimum size limits and a seasonal prohibition on the take of egg-bearing female crabs. Since then, FWC continues to monitor blue crab populations and makes necessary regulations to protect both the resource and the environment. Degradable panels and escape rings are requirements in traps that fish in Florida waters. In 1995 blue crab was designated as a restricted species requiring special permits. In 2007 an Effort Management Plan was developed that designated the number of commercial licenses issued and the number of traps allowed per license. This preventative measure ensures this valuable resource is not overharvested. According to both the 2007 FWC state stock assessment and the 2013 Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission regional stock assessment, the blue crab populations of Florida are not overfished nor experiencing overfishing.


Florida Blue Crab Action Plan

Full Action Plan

Download the Florida Blue Crab Action Plan

Sustainability Benchmark Report

The full Sustainability Benchmark Report may be viewed upon request. Request full report.


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Sponsored and coordinated by Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Authorized by the five Gulf state marine resource management agencies.
NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481.