The crab trap regulation changes that became effective November 1, 2021, were adopted to address entanglement risk in the recreational fishery and minimize interaction potential with protected whales and sea turtles. Traps maybe restricted by the Director to minimize entanglement risk. To get the latest updates, sign up on our Whale Safe Fisheries page.
The marker buoy can be any color red, there is not a specific red indicated in regulation. A bright red is preferred for the best visibility.
To be in compliance, you must use the specified color and size buoy. You should continue to work to source the correct buoy. They have generally been available at West Marine, Englund Marine and online. This can also be accomplished by painting a white buoy red as long as it fits the correct size dimensions.
No, the marker buoy must be 3 x 5 inches.
The main buoy can be any color or combination of colors.
Yes, the main buoy must be at least 5 inches in diameter and 11 inches in length. This is the minimum size, and it can be larger.
Yes, you may connect two buoys to make a larger main buoy, but note, if the buoys become separated you could be subject to enforcement action.
Only if the marker buoy is used as the trailer buoy. The regulations only allow one main buoy and one marker buoy, no additional buoys may be added. The marker buoy must be attached no farther than 3 feet away from the main buoy.
Anyone who wishes to use a crab trap needs a crab trap validation stamp, even if under 16, on free fishing days, or when fishing from shore, a pier, or manmade structure. A validation is also required for passengers onboard commercial passenger fishing vessels (CPFVs) when using crab traps to harvest crab. It is not required for take using any other method.
The validation stamp currently costs $2.42 and is good for the year issued. It can be renewed annually with your sport license. Starting January 1, 2023, all licenses and validations, including the crab trap validation, will be good for 365 days from purchase date, see more information.
No, the regulations for hoop net surface buoys have no specific buoy size or color requirements. There is no prohibition on having the red marker buoy attached to the hoop net as long as the surface buoy is marked as follows:
- From a CPFV, a DFG vesselID,
- From a licensed guide, their licensed guide ID, and
- For all other cases, a GO ID (for multiple operators, one GO ID is sufficient).
The GO ID number is required to be marked on hoop net surface buoys for cases that include operators on private vessels.
Regulations exempt hoop nets deployed by person on shore or manmade structures connected to the shore from the surface buoy marking requirement. A pier is a manmade structure connected to shore so hoop nets would not be required to have a marked surface buoy. However, all hoop nets need to fit the design type definitions and when deployed, they need to be serviced at intervals not to exceed 2 hours.