Background – Stock Status – FL Blue Crab

Florida Blue Crab Stock Status

Based on the most recent regional assessment conducted in 2013 by GSMFC, there are currently two stocks of blue crab in the Gulf of Mexico. The Western Gulf of Mexico (Western GOM) stock occurs from central Texas to Apalachicola Bay in Florida. The Eastern Gulf of Mexico (Eastern GOM) stock in Florida is found from Apalachee to the Keys (VanderKooy 2013). The Florida blue crab fishery extends to both coasts of the state, and the 2007 Florida blue crab stock assessment indicates that these are two stocks and genetic exchange between the east and west coasts may be low. Studies by McMillen-Jackson et al. (1994) and McMillen-Jackson and Bert (2004), indicate that there are no significant genetic differences between Gulf and Atlantic crabs in Florida; therefore it is considered to be one stock by management (Cooper, Gandy, and Crowley 3013).

The Eastern GOM stock is currently not overfished and not experiencing overfishing. The Gulf Data, Assessment and Review stock assessment of blue crab (GDAR01) states that the stock did experience overfishing in 1996 and 1998, and was overfished in 2003, 2008, and 2009. Eastern GOM stock abundance went through a decline through the 1990’s, but has stabilized. Abundance can vary annually, and in the Eastern stock abundance typically peaks following periods of high rainfall (Perry and VanderKooy 2015). Crab abundance in Florida has increased since 2000 (Murphy, McMillen-Jackson, and Mahmoudi 2007).

BC stock division



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