2019 Maryland blue crab season officially begins

Steamed crabs are a summertime tradition in Maryland and the season for crabbing has officially begun! Maryland's 2019 recreational crabbing season opened on April 1 for the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries -- as well as the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries. The season runs until December 15.

The state's Department of Natural Resources says recreational crabbing in Maryland can be done in a variety of ways -- with or without a license -- depending on the equipment and location.

Maryland's DNR says a license is not required for anyone using handlines or dip nets. They say waterfront property owners, lessees, or tenants of private shoreline property can register to crab license-free using up to two crab pots.

Licenses are required, Maryland's DNR says, for anyone who uses a trotline, collapsible crab traps, net rings, seines or eel pots.

The state adds that to protect other aquatic species, all crab pots used by waterfront property owners in Maryland must be fitted with a bycatch reduction or turtle excluder device in every entry funnel. They also say pots must be marked with the owner's name and address or DNR identification number.

In addition, all recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling crabs or possessing an egg-bearing (sponge) crab or any female hard or peeler crab.

For more information like the time of day you can crab, minimum size limits and other questions check out the 2019 Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing.