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St. Johns River blue crab trap closure ending early

Recreational and commercial blue crab traps may be placed back in all waters of the St. Johns River system starting Saturday, Jan. 20. The reopening includes all waters of the St. Johns River system and its associated lakes and tributaries from west of the St. Johns River’s intersection with the Intracoastal Canal, through and including Lake Hellen Blazes in Brevard County.

This closure started Jan. 16 and ended early because efforts to remove lost and abandoned traps in this region have been completed.

These 10-day trap closures give groups authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the opportunity to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps from the water.

Lost and abandoned blue crab traps are a problem in the blue crab fishery because they can continue to trap crabs and fish when left in the water. They can also damage sensitive habitats and pose navigational hazards to boaters on the water.

The closure is one of three regional, 10-day blue crab trap closures in 2018 on the Atlantic coast of Florida. There are six regional closures total: three in odd-numbered years on the west coast and three in even-numbered years on the east coast.

For more information regarding the FWC’s trap-retrieval program, blue crab trap closure dates, and regulations and cleanup events, go online to MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing” then “Trap & Debris”). For additional information, call 850-487-0554.