2016 Potomac River Crabbing Restrictions

  The Potomac River crabbing season, sizes and commercial pot, harvest and time limits for the Potomac River Fisheries Commission are as follows:
Crab Season (open)  
Crab Pot Season: April 1 through December 10
Trotlines & Dip Nets: April 1 through December 10
Peeler Traps: May 1 through June 30
(traps must be removed by July 1)
Hard Crabs:  
Males and Immature Females: April 1 through December 10
Mature Females:  April 1 through December 10
Soft and Peeler Crabs: May 1 through October 30
Crab Size Limits It shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, keep in floats, or have in possession any:
(1) hard crabs, except mature female crabs, less than 5 ¼” inches.
(2) peeler crabs less than 3 ½ inches.

(3) sponge crabs, spawn crab, blooming female crab, mother crab or the female crab from which the egg pouch or bunion has been removed - of any size.
  Effective July 10, 2008; all hard males, hard females, peelers and soft shell crabs shall be kept separate from each other.  
2016 Size Limits   Minimum
Hard Crabs: April 1st through December 10th 5 ½”
Mature Females:   None
Peeler Crabs:   3 ½”
Soft Crabs:   None
  Commercial Pot Limits: 285, 380, and 475

  Commercial Time Limits: It shall be unlawful for any person to take or catch crabs between sunset and one hour before sunrise, or to land or unload crabs earlier than sunrise or later than sunset.

  Summary of Crab Potting Regulations

  Regulations: Crab pot longlines were added as an alternate crabbing method. Longline Crabbing Summary.
The Potomac River Fisheries Commission coordinates regulations with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, (DGIF) and with the other Atlantic coastal states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).