Fishery Interactions – FL Stone Crab

Recreational Interactions

Areas of high stone crab fishing effort in Florida overlap with other user groups. One of the highest areas of landings is the Florida Keys, which is also popular for recreational fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. There is also high possibility of interaction between recreational stone crabbers and commercial stone crabbers. Recreational fishermen are limited to five traps per person and may keep one gallon of claws per person or two gallons of claws per boat, whichever is less (FWC-Recreational Stone Crabbing). Currently, there is no limit on the number of recreational fishermen that can fish with stone crabs and FWC does not keep record of recreational stone crab landings. Interviews with commercial fishermen have revealed a concern that recreational fishermen are setting traps close to commercial lines and stealing catch.

Commercial Interactions

There has been a history of the stone crab fishery conflicting with the shrimp fishery in Florida. The Stone Crab FMP was developed in part in response to a violent conflict between stone crab and shrimp fishermen, and the goal was to reduce conflict between these two groups (GMFMC Stone Crab FMP). The stone crab FMP established a separation line to resolve gear conflicts between the two fisheries. Shrimping was prohibited shoreward of the line between January 1 and May 20 (the overlap with stone crab season) and stone crab traps were prohibited offshore beyond the line of separation. This line of separation was determined by both the stone crab FMP and the GMFMC Shrimp FMP, and 50 CFR 654.24 establishes the shrimp/stone crab separation under federal law, while Florida Administrative Code Rule 68B-38.001 similarly establishes this zone under Florida law.

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