At their December 2021 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed two rulings designed to enhance the conservation of diamondback terrapins, a small estuarine turtle.
  • As of March 1, 2022, no one can possess a diamondback terrapin without an FWC permit.
  • As of March 1, 2023, all recreational crab traps in Florida must have a 6×2” funnel opening, or a By-Catch Reduction Device to make the funnel opening 6×2”.
This article discusses the recreational crab trap ruling.  We will discuss the What, Why, How, When, and Where of this ruling.   What… The new ruling calls for all recreational crab traps in Florida waters to have a 6×2 inch funnel opening, or a By-Catch Reduction Device that creates a funnel opening of 6×2 inches, by March 1, 2023.   Why… Diamondback terrapins are a species of special concern in the state.  The diversity of sub-species is high, highest of any other state, but abundance is low.  Research has shown that threats to terrapin populations include, loss of habitat and nesting beaches, nest depredation by wildlife, removal for the pet trade, and incidental drowning in crab traps.  To help conserve this animal in our state the two rulings mentioned above were passed in 2021.   How… By-catch Reduction Devices (BRDs) measuring 6×2” can be obtained from your local Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent.  If you do not have a Sea Grant Extension Agent in your county extension office, they will direct you to the closest one.  You will need to place the BRD on each of the funnel openings of your crab trap using zip ties.  Your local Sea Grant Agent can show how to do this.   When… All recreational crab traps used in Florida waters should have the 6×2 inch (or BRD in place) by March 1, 2023.   Where… This is for Florida waters only.   If you have further questions concerning this ruling, please contact your local Sea Grant Agent at your local county extension office.



The BRD is designed to keep terrapins out but allow crabs to enter. Photo: Virginia Sea Grant



The orange rectangle shaped excluder device is effective at keeping terrapins out but does not hinder crabs from entering. Photo: Rick O’Connor
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert
Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.
to top