marylandcrabbing regulations?

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    Recreational Crabbing Reminders

    A new crab trap is showing up at Maryland sport fishing retail stores under the name of CRAB ALERT. This trap is designed so that when a crab grabs the bait, a spring-loaded trap door closes automatically. Please be aware that a crab trap that automatically closes, without a manual force, is illegal to use in Maryland. Using illegal methods to catch crabs has a maximum penalty of $500 for the first offense.

    According to Maryland regulation, a collapsible crab trap is defined as a manually operated, portable device having a flat bottom not more than 1 square foot, and not more than four articulated sides, each with an area not more than 1 square foot. The trap shall be designed so that failure to apply manually exerted tension on the closing mechanism allows the crabs to escape. In other words, a crab trap must allow crabs to enter and exit the trap until the user pulls the line up to retrieve the trap. This pulling of the line manually closes the sides on the trap.

    SEASON: April 1 - December 15, 2006

    The current license structure and fees are:

    $2 for a holder of a Chesapeake Bay Sportfishing License

    $5 for a resident

    $10 for a non-resident

    $40 Chesapeake Bay Special Pleasure Boat Sport Fishing License (CBSPBL)

    A new license for a Recreational Crabbing Boat established at a fee of $15

    The $40 CBSPBL is valid as a Recreational Crabbing Boat License. The complimentary fishing license issued to the boat owner of a licensed sportfishing boat is valid as the owner's individual recreational crabbing license.

    Closed Wednesdays - except handlines and dip nets or pots at private piers

    Recreational crabbers may set recreational crabbing gear and crab from boats:

    during Apr, Oct, Nov and Dec

    between 1/2 hour after sunrise to 5:00 PM main Bay

    between 1/2 hour after sunrise to sunset in tributaries

    during May, Jun, Jul, Aug and Sept

    between 1/2 hour before sunrise to 5:00PM in the main Bay

    between 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset in the tributaries of the Bay

    Recreational crabbers may not set recreational crabbing gear and crab from boats on Wednesdays except handlines, dip nets and pots at private piers.

    Minimum Size (No minimum size for mature females): APRIL 1 - JULY 14 JULY 15 - DECEMBER 15

    5 " Male Hard 5 1/4" Male Hard

    3 1/4" Peeler 3 1/2" Peeler

    The minimum size for soft crab is 3 1/2 inches during the entire season.

    INDIVIDUAL CRABBING

    A license is required of an individual who uses the following gear or takes the following quantity of crabs:

    Trotline (1200 feet of baited line maximum allowed) floats must be the same size, color and shape

    11 to 30 traps or rings

    Up to 10 eel pots for own bait

    More than 2 dozen with a limit of 1 bushel of hard crabs

    More than 1 dozen with a limit of 2 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    A license is NOT required of an individual who uses only the following gear and takes the following quantity of crabs:

    10 or fewer traps and rings

    dipnets

    handlines

    No more than 2 dozen hard crabs

    No more than 1 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    OWNER OF PRIVATE SHORELINE PROPERTY

    Creel limits vary depending on whether the crabber is licensed or not - see Individual Crabbing information above.

    2 crab pots from a private propoerty or pier or within 100 yds of shore and attached by line

    Two cull rings required in upper chamber

    One measuring at least 2 3/16"

    One measuring at least 2 5/16"

    Turtle Reduction Device no larger than 1¾" x 4¾"

    CRABBING FROM A BOAT

    A recreational crabbing boat may be licensed

    The fee for a Recreational Crabbing Boat License is $15

    The owner of the licensed recreational crabbing boat is also issued a complementary statewide Individual Recreational Crabbing License

    The Chesapeake Bay Special Pleasure Boat Sport Fishing License (fee of $40) is valid as a Recreational Crabbing Boat License.

    CRABBING GEAR

    If the boat is licensed for recreational crabbing by either the Recreational Crabbing Boat License (new at a $15 fee) or the Chesapeake Bay Special Pleasure Boat License or at least one person in the boat possesses an individual recreational crabbing license:

    1200 feet of trotline (baited portion)

    Maximum 30 crab traps or rings

    Handlines

    Dipnets

    CATCH LIMITS FOR A LICENSED BOAT:

    Without any persons in the licensed boat who also possess an Individual Recreational Crabbing License;

    1 bushel of hard crabs

    2 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    Owner of the licensed boat in the boat with unlicensed crabbers;

    1 bushel of hard crabs

    2 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    If 2 or more licensed persons are in the licensed boat;

    2 bushels of hard crabs

    2 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    CATCH LIMITS FOR AN UNLICENSED BOAT:

    Without any licensed persons in the unlicensed boat;

    4 dozen hard crabs

    1 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    One licensed crabber in the boat alone or with unlicensed crabbers;

    1 bushel of hard crabs

    2 dozen soft crabs and peelers

    If 2 or more licensed persons in the unlicensed boat;

    2 bushels of hard crabs

    2 dozen soft crabs or peelers

    Special Note: A person less than 16 years of age is exempted from needing a license but, unless they purchase a crabbing license, they are restricted to the same limits as an unlicensed crabber.

    Possession of soft crabs and peelers by anglers and charter boats: No limit for possession of soft crabs and peelers for use as bait for the purpose of sportfishing.

    Click here to view the recreational crab regulations for the ocean and its bays

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