News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Conservatively Increases Commercial Crab Opportunities For 2011

Female Bushel Limit increasing at the End of the Crabbing Season

Annapolis, Md. (May 26, 2011) – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries service will conservatively increase the commercial crab daily catch limits for female crabs this fall. DNR fisheries managers made the decision after they determined that this moderate increase will have no negative impact on rebuilding the blue crab population.

“We have all had to work together, make sacrifices and invest time, money and effort to begin to rehabilitate the blue crab population,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Through decisions based on science, we are able to provide more opportunities to Maryland’s hard-working watermen, while preserving our rebounding blue crab population.”

This year DNR will increase daily female catch limits between September 1 and November 10. A crabber with a Limited Crab Catcher License will be allowed to land 12 bushels a day; an increase of two bushels over the same period last year. Crabbers holding more extensive licenses will see comparable increases based on their license levels.

This decision comes on the heels of the 2011 Blue Crab Winter Dredge survey, which showed that the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is at its second highest level since 1997 and well above the target for the third year in a row, setting the stage for a Bay-wide recovery. The results of the survey indicate that management measures put into place regulating the female blue crab population in 2008 are continuing to pay dividends and harvest levels have been below the established 46 percent target level for two consecutive years.

“We are pleased to be able to permit this small increase in catch limits for our commercial crabbing industry,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Over the past three years, we have successfully transitioned from a virtually unregulated female crab fishery to a system that allows us to react to changes in the crab population. Going forward, we will continue to follow the advice of scientists and work with the crabbing industry to ensure that the crab harvest remains at sustainable levels.”

All other commercial and recreational crabbing regulations for 2011, in both the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s coastal bays, will remain the same. Commercial crabbers in the Chesapeake Bay will continue to abide by strict daily female catch limits, and the commercial harvest of female crabs is prohibited June 1-15 and November 11- December 15.

   May 26, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at