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Recreational Crabbing Licenses

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Annual sport crabbing licenses are valid 365 days from the date of purchase.

2015 Licenses & Fees

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 Registration FREE

An individual under 16 years of age may crab without a license in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and is restricted to the same limits as an unlicensed crabber.

*Recreational Crabbing Boat License

The Recreational Crabbing Boat License allows the purchaser of the license, or if that person is not on board, any one individual on board the vessel, to catch crabs for recreational purposes anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries under that license. In addition, one individual crabbing license is issued to the individual who purchases the recreational crab boat license.

Who Needs A Maryland Recreational Crabbing License?

Anyone who uses the following gear or takes the following quantity of crabs must possess a recreational crabbing license:

  • Trotline
  • Collapsible crab traps
  • Net rings
  • Seines
  • Eel pots for own bait
  • More than 2 dozen with a limit of 1 bushel 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 or taking the following quantity:

  • Dip net
  • Handlines
  • No more than 2 dozen male hard crabs
  • No more than 1 dozen soft crabs and male peelers

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

Waterfront Property Crab Pots


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 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.

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


  • Crab pots must be set in front of the private property within 100 yards of the shore and either be attached by a line to the property or marked by a buoy or pole and sign.
  • Crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries must be marked with the owner’s DNRid.
  • Crab pots in the coastal bays and their tributaries must be marked with the owner’s name and address.
  • Crab pots must have 2 cull rings, one measuring at least 23⁄16 inches and one at least 25⁄16 inches, located in the exterior side panel or the top panels of the pot.
  • Crab pots must have a turtle excluder device attached to each entrance or funnel in the lower chamber constructed of wire or plastic, rectangular in shape not larger than 13⁄4 inches high by 43⁄4 inches long.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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