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The only female crabs a Rec can keep is soft crabs. Unlicensed 1 dz and no matter how many licenses 2 dz. 3 1/2 inches from April 1 to Dec 15.
 

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Depends on where you are & what kind of crabs
Md Chesapeake bay & tribs=NO
Md coastal bays=Yes & no sponge crabs (no minimum size for mature females)
Female soft crabs are ok in Md Chesapeake & Coastal bay (rec limit 1 doz without license)

Virginia Chesapeake Bay & coastal Bays=Yes & no dark sponge crabs (no minimum size for mature females)
 

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I have a commercial license with the female restriction on it and I had 12 female peelers and one female soft crab. I got pulled over by dnr and he told me that commercial with female restriction and recreational cannot keep female peelers or soft crabs. I sent an email to dnr headquarters to double check and this was the response.

The male only LCC does not allow the harvest of any females, hard for peeler.
Brenda
 

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I have a commercial license with the female restriction on it and I had 12 female peelers and one female soft crab. I got pulled over by dnr and he told me that commercial with female restriction and recreational cannot keep female peelers or soft crabs. I sent an email to dnr headquarters to double check and this was the response.

The male only LCC does not allow the harvest of any females, hard for peeler.
Brenda
Brenda,

I realize you may not want to answer and of course that is fine, but I am interested to know whether the DNR give you a citation or did they let it go?

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WOW my 3000th post!
 

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Brenda,

I realize you may not want to answer and of course that is fine, but I am interested to know whether the DNR give you a citation or did they let it go?

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WOW my 3000th post!
Steve, Brenda is Brenda Davis from MD DNR crab division that gave him the response to his question.....I was thinking the same thing. Was he cited? He is legal on the soft crab but not the peelers as are rec crabbers...... Gary
 

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Gary,

Thanks I should have known that (my Borellia infection is still keeping me more stupid that usual).

dreem01, sorry for calling you "Brenda!"

I am interested in whether you were afforded "prosecutorial discretion" by DNR or if you were cited for a violation.
 

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I was issued a warning by the officer because at first he didn't even know the rule himself. I was told for now on that I could not keep females at all (hard, peeler or soft). I wasn't trying to break the rules I just assumed that peelers and soft crabs were in a class of their own. Lesson learned.
 

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You can still keep 3 1/2" + female soft shells..............Gary
I was issued a warning by the officer because at first he didn't even know the rule himself. I was told for now on that I could not keep females at all (hard, peeler or soft). I wasn't trying to break the rules I just assumed that peelers and soft crabs were in a class of their own. Lesson learned.
Actually let me correct this...female soft crabs are fine.
 

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Actually let me correct this...female soft crabs are fine.
Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

I am a rec crabber but I strongly support commercial fishermen including crabbers. This crabbing message board has a mix of recs and comms and we all get along amazingly well--lots if info and help is shared!

I am glad to hear you got a warning, especially given the circumstances w the officer's knowledge.

I always worry a doubler female will land in my boat during a hot trotline run and I will miss her and then have her aboard for a DNR check. I try to be careful but my boat is crowded with gear and it could happen. I would hope for a warning in that kind of situation but I can see a harda$$ giving me a ticket and I could only blame my own carelessness.
 

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Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

I am a rec crabber but I strongly support commercial fishermen including crabbers. This crabbing message board has a mix of recs and comms and we all get along amazingly well--lots if info and help is shared!

I am glad to hear you got a warning, especially given the circumstances w the officer's knowledge.

I always worry a doubler female will land in my boat during a hot trotline run and I will miss her and then have her aboard for a DNR check. I try to be careful but my boat is crowded with gear and it could happen. I would hope for a warning in that kind of situation but I can see a harda$$ giving me a ticket and I could only blame my own carelessness.
Getting along is the only way to go these days. We all share the same common interest and that's the Love of fishing and crabbing. good luck this season feels maybe I'll see you out there .
 

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Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

I am a rec crabber but I strongly support commercial fishermen including crabbers. This crabbing message board has a mix of recs and comms and we all get along amazingly well--lots if info and help is shared!

I am glad to hear you got a warning, especially given the circumstances w the officer's knowledge.

I always worry a doubler female will land in my boat during a hot trotline run and I will miss her and then have her aboard for a DNR check. I try to be careful but my boat is crowded with gear and it could happen. I would hope for a warning in that kind of situation but I can see a harda$$ giving me a ticket and I could only blame my own carelessness.
I have found a female or two in my basket when I go to steam them. I am very careful about not keeping females but it happens. I think you are allowed a few females before you are cited. NRP is looking for people who violate the law with intent and not someone who accidentally put a female in the basket. I guess you could be cited but the way you interact with the officer goes a long way. These guys are out there all the time and they have heard it all and know who is dirty. Glad you gto a warning, especially wit a commercial license........ Gary
 

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So let me get this straight. I really don't crab that much but if I come across peelers on the pier pilings I will net them for bait when fishing. As a recreational guy I cannot keep a female peeler? What about ones that I purchase from a bait shop? I have purchased female peelers for bait in the past and if I can buy them how do I prove they were purchased from a bait store and not caught by me. Please give me any correct reply.
 

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You may have female peelers in your possession and be legal as long as you also have in your possession a sales receipt for those peelers.
To CMA I would insist on a receipt itemizing the peeler(s) as a line item, the quantity and price along with store name and phone number.

You are correct in your above statement " I cannot keep a female peeler" that you harvest on your own, however, it is legal to have them in your possession as long as you can show proof that they were purchased from an entity that has the authority to sell them.

The above reply pertains to MD law. It may also apply in other jurisdictions, but if so, I do not know which one(s).
 

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I had the same deal when I went cat fishing. I forgot my bait and had to go to Giant in Ft Washington to try and buy some fresh fish. Cheapest was croakers but they were about 8". MD law says they must be 9" to keep. Giant might have bought them where 8" was legal. You bet your ass I kept my receipt! You can buy peelers from a commercial crabber if not female restricted, but make sure you keep the receipt........ Gary
 

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Plus if you are only fishing with no crabbing equipment it would be pretty easy to explain. If you are running 1200 feet of trot line and some traps but you have a fishing rod on board with 12 female peelers your going to get a fine.
 
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