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Blue Crabs – Coastal Bays, Tributaries & Atlantic Ocean

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Recreational crabbing is allowed from April 1 to December 31.

Harvest Restrictions

There are no license requirements or time of day restrictions.

Minimum Size Limits
(measured from tip to tip of spikes)

  • Male Hard Crabs — 5 inches
  • Male Soft Crabs — 3½ inches
  • Peeler Crabs
    - April 1 to July 14 — 3¼ inches
    - July 15 to December 31 — 3½ inches
  • Mature Female Crabs — no minimum size. The taking of sponge crabs is prohibited.

Recreational Crabbing Daily Catch Limits

The daily catch limit in the waters of the Coastal Bays of the Atlantic Ocean and their tidal tributaries is:

  • One bushel per person.
  • Two bushels per boat if two or more
    individuals are on the boat.

It is Legal

To crab in the Coastal Bays of Maryland’s Atlantic Ocean and coastal tributaries using:

    • No more than 600 feet of baited trotline, with floats of the same color, size and shape attached to each end; or
    • Not more than two 600-foot trotlines if two or more persons are in the boat; or
    • Dip nets and any number of handlines; or
    • Not more than 10 or a combination of 10 collapsible crab traps or crab net rings per person from docks, piers, bridges, boats or shoreline; or
    • No more than 25, or a combination of 25, collapsible crab traps or crab net rings, if two or more persons are in a boat.

      For waterfront property owners to set a maximum of two crab pots at their property that:

    • Are marked with the owner’s name and address; and
    • Are set in front of the person’s property, within 100 yards of the shore; and either:
      - Are attached by a line to the property or a privately owned pier or dock; or
      - Are marked by a buoy or pole and sign; and
    • Have a turtle excluder device attached to each entrance or funnel in the lower chamber constructed of wire or plastic, rectangular in shape with dimensions not larger than 1¾ inches high by 4¾ inches long; and
    • Have one unobstructed 2516 inch cull ring on a side panel of the upper compartment and one 2516 inch cull ring on the lower compartment; and
    • The cull ring must be closed from April 23 – May 31.


Turtle Excluders Are Required
Turtle excluders are required in recreational crab pots in Maryland. These devices prevent terrapins from entering a crab pot without hindering blue crab entry. Without turtle
excluders, terrapins can enter crab pots and drown. To get instructions to make your own turtle excluder visit


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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