ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is considering a change in the tolerance limits for undersized male hard crabs from five crabs per bushel and 13 crabs per barrel to six crabs per container smaller than a barrel.
The undersized tolerance limit for hard crabs stored in barrels and the tolerance limits for soft crabs and peeler crabs would remain the same.
DNR’s view is that male hard crabs may not be contained “per bushel” and this presents compliance and enforcement challenges. Since most alternate blue crab containers are larger than a bushel but smaller than a barrel raising the undersized limit from five to six alleviates concerns associated with culling errors.
The state anticipates this change if adopted would be effective this summer, and would affect anyone harvesting hard male blue crabs from Maryland waters. A summary of the proposal can be found here.
The idea was scoped with the Sports Fisheries Advisory Commission and Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission at their January meetings. Additional comments are now being accepted online before midnight, Feb. 12 at Comment Form.