The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces that the recreational crabbing season in Maryland officially opens April 1 for the Chesapeake Bay and tidal tributaries as well as in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries.
Recreational crabbing in Maryland is an exciting opportunity for anyone who wants to experience one of the state’s most iconic and recognizable crustaceans. Blue crab fishing can be practiced in different ways, with or without a license depending on the equipment and the location. However, licenses are required for anyone using a trotline, collapsible crab traps, net rings, seines or eel traps.
No license is required for anyone using hand lines or landing nets. In addition, waterfront owners, tenants, or tenants of private waterfront property may Register crabbing without a license using up to two crab pots.
To protect other aquatic species, all crab traps used by waterfront property owners in Maryland must be equipped with a turtle bycatch reduction or exclusion device in each input funnel. Pots should also be marked with the name and address of the owner or MNR identification number.
A recreational crab fishing license is not required in the Atlantic Ocean or coastal bays and their tributaries. Also, any boat passenger with a valid crab fishing license does not need an individual license to fish for crab.
All recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling crabs or possessing an egg (sponge) crab or any female hard or skinning crab.
Further information on crab licenses, restrictions, possession limits and size limits can be found in the Maryland Fishing and Crab Guide 2022.