Recreational Crabbing Licenses & Crab Pot Registration

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

Purchase your license or obtain a free registration from Maryland’s Online Licensing Service, COMPASS. https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/

Licenses and Fees

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

Maryland Resident – $5

Non-Resident – $10

Maryland Resident who possesses a Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License or a Resident Senior Consolidated Sport Fishing License – $2

Recreational Crabbing Boat License* – $15

Waterfront Property Crab Pot Registration – Free

*Recreational Crabbing Boat License

A person that purchases a recreational crabbing boat license receives a decal that must be attached to their boat. When the decal is attached to the boat the individuals on the boat do not need to be licensed to catch crabs. The decal allows the use of gear (trotlines and collapsible traps or net rings) that would otherwise require a separate recreational crabbing license. The decal is equivalent to one recreational crabbing license. See the licensed boat limits on Blue Crabs—Chesapeake Bay.

The person who purchases the boat license is issued an individual crabbing license that can be used when the individual is not on their boat.

Who Needs A Maryland Recreational Crabbing License?

Anyone who uses the following gear:

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

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

  • More than 24 with a limit of one bushel of male hard crabs
  • More than 12 with a limit of 24 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 24 male hard crabs and no more than 12 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 two 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. See Blue Crabs—Chesapeake Bay and Blue Crabs—Atlantic for details.

    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.

License Free Fishing Areas

Maryland features many areas where recreational anglers can fish year-round without a fishing license. When fishing in these areas you are exempt from all license and stamp fees and requirements. You are required to observe all other fishing rules. A free MD/PRFC angler registration is also required for anglers fishing without a license in designated license free fishing areas located in tidal water, you may register online through the Maryland licensing system.
Anne Arundel
  • Annapolis—MD Route 450 old bridge at the Severn River.
Baltimore County
  • Cox’s Point on Back River and Deep Creek. Directions: Eastern Blvd. (Rt. 150) to Riverside Drive south.
Baltimore City
  • Canton Recreational Pier at Boston Street
  • Middle Branch Park from fishing pier south of the Hanover-Pottee Street Bridges, to Hanover Street Bridge over Middle Branch. Directions: Route 2 to Middle Branch Park
  • Canton Waterfront Park
Caroline County
  • Denton—Pier associated with G. Daniel Crouse Memorial Park on the east side of Choptank River north of MD Route 404 Bridge.
  • Federalsburg Municipal Park
  • Greensboro Waterfront Park — Upstream of the Sunset Avenue bridge within park boundaries on the Choptank River.
Cecil County
  • Charlestown—Town-owned stone wharf on the Northeast River near the corner of Conestoga and Water Streets and the historic site of Charlestown Wharf.
  • North East—North East Community Park at mouth of North East Creek.
  • Perryville Ice House Park — Within the park boundaries of Ice House Park downstream of the Route 40 bridge on the Susquehanna River.
Charles County
  • Friendship Landing—County-owned pier and property adjacent to the pier off Friendship Landing Road southeast of Ironsides Riverside Road (Rt. 425) on Nanjemoy Creek.
Dorchester County
  • Cambridge—Long Wharf from south end of city-owned bulkhead associated with the Municipal Yacht Basin within Cambridge Creek to the end of east breakwater at mouth of the Municipal Yacht Basin.
Frederick County
  • Gambrill State Park—Banks of the one acre pond located within Gambrill State Park boundaries, near the Park’s campground. (Angler registration not required at this location.)
Harford County
  • Havre de Grace—Tydings Memorial Park within designated area, and pier at the end of Congress Street.
  • Chestertown—MD Route 213 Bridge over Chester River.
Somerset County
  • Crisfield City Dock — City dock/depot area at the end of West Main Street.
  • Janes Island State Park—Bulkhead area on Daugherty Creek within the boundaries of Janes Island State Park.
Wicomico County
  • Sharptown—Pier and town dock off Ferry Street on the Nanticoke River.
  • Salisbury—Designated city-owned bulkhead on the Wicomico River between Mill Street and Division Street.
  • Tyaskin Park—County-owned park on Wetipquin Creek west of Rt. 349 at Tyaskin.
Worcester County
  • Pocomoke City—City docks from Laurel Street boat ramp to US Route 13 overpass and Winter Quarter dock on Pocomoke River.
  • Snow Hill—All city-owned riverfront property which includes Byrd Park, Sturgis Park, and city bulkheading adjacent to the municipal parking lot near the Route 12 bridge over the Pocomoke River.
  • Ocean City—Northside Park—Town-owned pier and park at 125th Street.
  • Ocean City—Chicago Avenue—Bulkhead between 2nd and 4th Streets.