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Southeastern U.S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico stone crab trap/pot

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category II
Estimated Number of Participants 1,384
Target Species Stone crab
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage There has not been observer coverage in this fishery.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Bottlenose dolphin, Biscayne Bay estuarine;
Bottlenose dolphin, Central Florida (FL) coastal;
Bottlenose dolphin, Eastern Gulf of Mexico (GMX) coastal;
Bottlenose dolphin, FL Bay;
Bottlenose dolphin, GMX bay, sound, estuarine (FL west coast portion);
Bottlenose dolphin, Indian River Lagoon estuarine system;
Bottlenose dolphin, Jacksonville estuarine system;
Bottlenose dolphin, Northern GMX coastal

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

Based on analogy to the Category II “Atlantic blue crab trap/pot” fishery, and serious injury and mortality to bottlenose dolphins (multiple stocks) reported in stranding data.

Distribution

Operates primarily nearshore in the State of Florida. Stone crab fishing outside of this area is likely very minimal. The margins of seagrass flats and bottoms with low rocky relief are also favored areas for trap placement. The season for commercial and recreational stone crab harvest is from October 15 to May 15.

Gear Description

Traps are the most typical gear type used for the commercial and recreational stone crab fishery. Baited traps are frequently set in waters of 65 ft (19.8 m) depth or less in a double line formation, generally 100-300 ft (30.5-91.4 m) apart, running parallel to a bottom contour. Buoys are attached to the trap/pot via float line.

Management

In 2010, the State of FL issued 1,282 commercial stone crab licenses and 1,190,285 stone crab trap tags. FL state regulations limit recreational stone crab trap/pot numbers to five per person (FL Administrative Code (F.A.C.) Chapter 68B-13). Commercial traps must be designed to conform to the specifications established under U.S. 50 CFR 654.22, as well as F.A.C. Chapter 68B-13. In FL, commercial trap/pot buoys are required to be marked with the letter “X,” the trap owner’s stone crab endorsement number (in characters at least 2 inches high), and a tag that corresponds to a valid FWC-issued trap certificate. Recreational trap/pot buoys, except those fished from a dock, must have a permanently affixed and legible "R" at least 2 inches high and the harvester's name and address (Ch. 68B-13.009(3), F.A.C).

Total Effort

Due to the Stone Crab Trap Reduction Schedule [F.A.C Chapter 68B-13.010(3)(f) Florida Statutes], the number of commercial trap certificates issued by the State of Florida has decreased from approximately 1,475,000 in the 2002-2003 fishing season to 1,119,449 in the 2011-2012 fishing season. The Stone Crab Trap Reduction Schedule [F.A.C Chapter 68B-13.010(3)(f) Florida Statutes] will eventually reduce the number of trap tags to 600,000 trap/pots statewide. Pots will be reduced by a pre-specified percentage each year until the number of trap tags reaches 600,000 (Muller et al. 2006).

 

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (2001)
Original Number of Participants 4,453
Basis for Original Classification The Southeast U.S. stranding network reported one bottlenose dolphin entangled in this fishery in 1998. However, reference to the stock was removed from the final LOF based on a public comment and further investigation, which indicated that the dolphin was entangled in a gear configuration that is not a normal component of the fishery.
Past Names N/A
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A

 

Timeline of Changes

2017
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 1,282 to 1,384.
2012
  • Elevated from Category III to Category II based on analogy to the Category II “Atlantic blue crab trap/pot” fishery because the fisheries use similar fishing techniques, habitat and gear; therefore, posing a similar level of risk of interactions resulting in serious injury or mortality to bottlenose dolphins. Additionally, from 2002-2010, 3 bottlenose dolphin strandings (multiple stocks) resulting in serious injury or mortality were confirmed to result from interactions with stone crab trap/pot gear. Further, 7 bottlenose dolphin (multiple stocks) strandings resulting in serious injury or mortality were confirmed to result from interactions with a southeast trap/pot fishery, plausibly the stone crab fishery because of its spatial and temporal overlap with the strandings. The ten strandings from 2002-2010 strongly suggest the stone crab fishery has “occasional incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals” (50 CFR 229.2), further warranting a Category II classification. 
  • Added bottlenose dolphin, Central FL coastal; bottlenose dolphin, Eastern GMX coastal; bottlenose dolphin, FL Bay; bottlenose dolphin, GMX bay, sound, estuarine (FL west coast portion); bottlenose dolphin, Indian River Lagoon estuarine system; bottlenose dolphin, Jacksonville estuarine system; bottlenose dolphin, Northern GMX coastal to the list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery. From 2002-2010, three bottlenose dolphin serious injuries or mortalities were confirmed to result from interactions with the stone crab fishery, and seven bottlenose dolphin serious injuries or mortalities were confirmed to result from interactions with a southeast trap/pot fishery, plausibly the stone crab fishery based on spatial and temporal overlap with these strandings (2010 SAR). The 2010 SARs indicate that the serious injuries or mortalities were confirmed and/or could have been from the stocks listed above. 
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 4,453 to 1,282.
2011
  • Changed the stock names for bottlenose dolphins based on the revised stock structure presented in the final 2008 and 2009 SARs. Replaced reference to “bottlenose dolphin, WNA coastal” with the following “bottlenose dolphin, Biscayne Bay estuarine.”
2009
  • Added bottlenose dolphin (WNA stock) to the list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery. Stranding data indicated that bottlenose dolphins interact with this fishery. Two bottlenose dolphins stranded with stone crab trap/pot gear in 2003 and 2006, one in Biscayne Bay and one in Miami Beach, respectively. These animals fell within the WNA coastal bottlenose dolphin stock’s Central FL Management Unit, which had an unknown PBR (2007 final SAR). Therefore, NMFS could not determine whether this fishery required reclassification to a Category II until more information became available.
2001
  • Listed on the LOF for the first time as a Category III. 
  • Southeast U.S. stranding network reported one bottlenose dolphin entangled in this fishery in 1998. However, reference to the stock is removed from the final LOF based on a public comment and further investigation, which indicated that the dolphin was entangled in a gear configuration that is not a normal component of the fishery.


 

Updated December 14, 2016