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Recreational Crabbing Licenses & Crab Pot Restrictions

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

Who Needs A Maryland Recreational Crabbing License?

Anyone who uses the following gear:

  • Trotline
  • Collapsible crab traps
  • Net Rings
  • Seines
  • Eel pots for own bait

Additionally, anyone who uses other legal gear to catch more than the following quantity of crabs:

  • More than 2 dozen with a limit of 1 bushel of male hard crabs
  • More than 1 dozen with a limit of 2 dozen soft crabs or male peelers

    Crabbing License Exemptions

    You do not need a license if you are using the following gear:

    • Handlines
    • Dip nets

    If you are crabbing without a license using license-exempt gear, you are still limited to the unlicensed crabber limits of no more than 2 dozen male hard crabs and no more than 1 dozen soft crabs or male peeler crabs.

    You also do not need a license if you are:

    • Assisting another individual who has a recreational crabbing license
    • Crabbing from a boat that is displaying a recreational crabbing boat decal

    Waterfront Property Crab Pot Registration

    Registration – Annual

    An owner, lessee, or tenant of a private shoreline property may use a maximum of 2 crab pots, regardless of the number of owners or lessees of the property, and must be annually registered with the department. The registration is free and it does NOT count as a recreational crabbing license.

    A license is not needed to use properly registered crab pots; however, you are limited to the unlicensed crabber limits.

    Private property crab pots set in the Atlantic Ocean, Coastal Bays, and their tributaries do NOT need to be registered.

A recreational crabbing license is not required in the Atlantic Ocean, Coastal Bays, and their tributaries.

2017 Licenses and Fees

Crabbing licenses and registrations are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase/registration.

Maryland Resident$5.00

Non-Resident$10.00

Maryland Resident who possesses a Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport Fishing License or a Resident Senior Consolidated Sport Fishing License$2.00

Recreational Crabbing Boat License*$15.00

Waterfront Property Crab Pot RegistrationFree

To purchase a license, visit:

https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal