News Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland Tradition Springs to Life

Photo of blue crab taken by Katie Macdonald

Photo by Katie Macdonald

The recreational crabbing season in Maryland officially opens April 1 for the Chesapeake Bay and tidal tributaries as well as in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries.

Recreational crabbing in Maryland can be done a variety of ways, with or without a license depending on the equipment and location.Licenses are requiredfor anyone who uses a trotline, collapsible crab traps, net rings, seines or eel pots.

A license is not required for anyone using handlines or dip nets. In addition, waterfront property owners, lessee, or tenant of a private shoreline property canregisterto crab license-free using up to two crab pots.

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A recreational crabbing license is not required in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries. Additionally, any passenger of a boat with a valid crabbing license doesn’t need an individual license to crab.

To protect other aquatic species, all crab pots used by waterfront property owners in Marylandmust be fitted with abycatch reduction or turtle excluder devicein every entry funnel. Pots must also be marked with the owner’s name and address orDNR identification number.

All recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling crabs or possessing an egg-bearing (sponge) crab or any female hard or peeler crab.

More information on crabbing licenses, restrictions, possession limits and size limits is available in the2019 Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...