Thursday marks the beginning of stone crab season in Florida, but new rules will be put in place in order to boost the crustacean's population.
Some of the new rules created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission include shortening the season by two weeks and making the minimum claw size an eighth of an inch larger.
Back in July, the state agency reported that stone crab fisheries were experiencing a decline in harvest likely due to overfishing.
Because of the decline, stone crab season will end May 1st instead of the usual end date of May 15th. The minimum claw size will also increase from 2 3/4 inches to 2 7/8 inches.
Other rules to keep in mind include:
- A daily bag limit of 1 gallon of claws per person
- Fishers that 16 or older are required to complete an online trap registration
- Traps can be placed 10 days before the start of the season, but harvesting can only begin October 15th
- Any device that can puncture, crush or injure the crab body, such as spears, grains, grabs, hooks or similar devices are prohibited
A full list of rules and regulations for stone crab season can be found on FWC's website.