The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has filed an Executive Order to waive the commercial stone crab trap tag requirements in Northeast and Southwest Florida for the remainder of the 2022-2023 license year.
This waiver is intended to help stone crabbers impacted by Hurricane Ian return to business as soon as possible. Effective immediately, commercial fishermen licensed to harvest stone crabs with traps are not required to affix trap tags to their traps in state and federal waters off St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler, Volusia, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. Trap tags are still required on commercial stone crab traps in all other state and federal waters off Florida.
This waiver extends through the end of the 2022-2023 commercial stone crab harvest season, including the 15-day post-season trap removal period.
“Hurricane Ian impacted a major portion of the Florida fishing community, and we will be with them every step of the way as they rebuild stronger than before,” explained FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “As we work with our partners and stakeholders to identify the needs of commercial fishers impacted by this powerful storm, we will continue to use all available resources to support them.”
“Getting Florida’s commercial fishing industry the assistance they need to recover from this disaster is a top priority for the FWC,” stated FWC Commissioner Robert Spottswood. “This waiver is just one step of many we are taking to provide relief to those fishermen affected by Hurricane Ian.”
“We are committed to assisting our commercial fishing industry in their recovery from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ian while assuring the conservation of our resources,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “Waiving these requirements will help fishermen get back on their feet and back in the water as quickly as possible, ultimately stimulating the economy in areas of the state which are most in need after Ian’s devastating impacts.”