Maryland revises Blue Crab limits for 2015 season

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released it’s limit level this year for female hard crabs. It depends on what type of crabbing permit you have. But basically, there are no off-limit times this year on when females can be trapped. See below. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fisheries Service
Chesapeake Bay Commercial Mature Female Hard Crab Catch Limit and Crew Requirements

Bay Wide

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service (MDNR) announces a revision of the commercial mature female hard crab bushel limits and closure periods for 2015 for the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries pursuant to COMAR 08.02.03.14. Notwithstanding COMAR 08.02.03.11A(5), there are no closure periods for female harvest in 2015. The daily commercial mature female hard crab bushel limits beginning July 3, 2015 to November 10, 2015 are as follows:

Bushel Limits by License Type
Season LCC TFL or CB3 TFL with CB6 or CB3 with CB6 TFL with CB9 or CB3 with CB9
Jul 1 – Aug 31 2 9 13 17
Sep 1 – Sep 30 5 17 26 35
Oct 1 – Oct 31 5 18 27 36
Nov 1 – Nov 10 5 8 22 32

The above acronyms stand for: LCC – Limited Crab Harvester License 50 pots; CB3 – Crab Harvester License 300 pots; CB6 – 600 pot authorization; CB9 – 900 pot authorization; and TFL – Unlimited Tidal Fish License

Mature female hard crab bushel limits and closure periods are being revised based on harvest levels, which have been below the established target for 7 consecutive years, and the results of the 2014-2015 winter crab dredge survey conducted by the MDNR and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

As described in Annotated Code of Maryland, Natural Resources Article, §4-814, a 600 pot authorization (CB6) requires the license holder to have one crew member in addition to him/herself and a 900 pot authorization (CB9) requires the license holder to have two crew members in addition to him/herself on board. These additional crew members must be on board the vessel in order for the licensee to harvest at the bushel limit assigned to a CB6 or CB9. If crew members are not on board, then the licensee is restricted to the TFL or CB3 bushel limits.

Mark J. Belton
Secretary
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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