There are various fishing licenses in Florida. The one you need to harvest crabs is the saltwater fishing license. Although there are different kinds of saltwater licenses, they all cover the same species and only vary by duration and whether they are obtained by in-state residents or out-of-state visitors.
Obtaining a Florida Fishing License
Florida saltwater fishing licenses are sold at all county tax collector offices and through other license agents. Licenses also can be obtained by dialing 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA. If you have Internet access, you can also obtain a license online at MyFWC.com.
If you are a Florida resident, you can get a one-year shoreline-only license or a watercraft-plus-shoreline license good for one year or five years. Non-residents are able to purchase licenses in three-day, seven-day and one-year versions.
You do not need a fishing license if you are:
- Fishing from shore and receive any form of assistance from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
- A child younger than 16.
- A Florida resident fishing in your home county using live bait and fishing pole without an automatic retrieval system.
- Fishing from a for-hire vessel with a valid vessel license.
- A Florida resident 65 or older with proof of residency and age.
Blue crab caught in open water
With a valid Florida saltwater fishing license, you can harvest blue crab in open water from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4. For open-water harvesting, traps cannot be set more than 3 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, where federal waters begin.
The harvest limit for open-water blue crab fishing is 10 gallons of whole crabs per harvester per day, using a maximum of five traps. Also, harvesting egg-bearing crabs is illegal year-round, so thoroughly inspect the bottom side of all crabs you keep for eggs.
Blue crab caught from land
With a valid Florida saltwater fishing license, you can harvest blue crabs from land from July 1 through Oct. 31. State parks are off limits. Trapping is prohibited for land-based blue crab harvesting, so you must use a dip net or fishing line. The harvest limit for land-based blue crab fishing is 20 crabs per harvester per day.
With a valid Florida saltwater fishing license, you can harvest stone crabs from May 16 through Oct. 14. It is illegal to possess entire stone crabs, so remove a claw and return the crab to the wild. A maximum of five traps are allowed by any one harvester or vessel.
The harvest limit for stone crab is one gallon of claws per harvester per day or two gallons of claws per vessel per day, whichever is less. Claws must be at least 2¾ inches long to keep.
- Photo Credit crabs image by Bionic Media from Fotolia.com
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