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Recreational Crabbing Licenses & Crab Pot Registration

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

Who Needs A Maryland Recreational Crabbing License?

Anyone who uses the following gear:

  • Eel pots for bait
  • Seines
  • Trotline

Anyone age 16 and older who uses the following gear:

  • Collapsible crab traps
  • Net rings

Additionally, anyone who uses 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
  • Collapsible crab traps (if under the age of 16)
  • Net rings (if under the age of 16)

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 annually register 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—Atlantic for details.

Private property crab pots set in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries do NOT need to be registered, but must be marked with the owner's name and address.

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

*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.