SARASOTA — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday approved several draft changes to recreational and commercial trap fisheries rules, directing staff to come back to the September meeting for a final public hearing.

Approved draft changes include the following:


creating a mandatory, no-cost annual recreational blue crab and stone crab trap registration for trap fishers age 16 and older and requiring trap identification numbers to be placed on recreational traps
increasing the time allowed for commercial lobster fishers to remove spiny lobster traps from the water after the season ends from five to 10 days
starting the commercial spiny lobster trap soak period the Saturday after the recreational mini-season (which occurs the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July).

To share your input on these potential changes, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. The spiny lobster trap soak period will go into effect before the 2018 season via executive order.