March of last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began requireing a new Bycatch Reduction Device (BRD) be placed on all recreational crab traps used in Florida waters.

Crab traps are required to have rigid funnel openings no larger than 2 x 6 inches at the narrowest point or 2 x 6-inch bycatch reduction devices installed to reduce accidental trapping of diamondback terrapins, which has been a significant threat to the species.

The rule was approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in December 2021 and went into effect on March 1. It is part of a larger effort to conserve terrapins, a small turtle species found in brackish waters across the state.

If you need these for your crab traps, the Escambia County Extension Office provides them at no charge while supplies last. You may drop by the Extension Office (3740 Stefani Road Pensacola, FL 32533) to pick them up, or contact the Florida Sea Grant Agent (Rick O’Connor, roc1@ufl.edu) to set up a time/place for them to be delivered.

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