FLORIDA – Northwest Florida’s 2023 blue crab trap closure is ending early, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has announced.
According to the FWC, recreational and commercial blue crab traps can be placed back in northwest Florida waters starting Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. The closure included state waters (shore to three nautical miles, including intracoastal waterways) from the Florida/Alabama state line through Wakulla County.
Waters of the Ochlockonee River and Ochlockonee Bay were not included in this closure, the FWC said.
Lost and abandoned blue crab traps are a problem in the blue crab fishery because they can continue to trap crabs and fish when left in the water. They can also be unsightly in the marine environment, damage sensitive habitats, and pose navigational hazards to boaters on the water.
The closure is one of three regional, 10-day blue crab trap closures that will occur in 2023 (see map below).
Coastal waters from Broward through Pasco counties will close to traps July 10-19, and waters from Hernando through Wakulla counties, including all waters of the Ochlockonee River and Ochlockonee Bay, will close to blue crab traps July 20-29.
There are six regional closures total: three in even-numbered years on the east coast and three in odd-numbered years on the west coast.