To maintain the blue crab population, state officials determine the measurements of crabs you can keep. If you catch a blue crab and it is too small, you need to throw it away. So there are also economic reasons to reject these female crabs; Not to mention the obvious ethical and environmental reasons. And the fact that you may not be able to fish and eat them at all in the future if their populations continue to be threatened. To push the numbers higher, efforts have been made to restrict the fishery for female crabs, which could replenish the population by laying eggs. If you eat crabs, always bring a ruler to measure your crabs. You want to measure your crabs from the tip of each point of their upper shell. See the diagram below for reference: In many states, especially in the southern and eastern United States, where crabs are primarily harvested, the law says you have to reject female crabs. Another variant of the law limits the number of women you can keep.
Here are some examples of blue crab regulations in Maryland and Georgia. Crabs can be caught in New Jersey waters with hand cords, hand-operated folding traps, or shovel nets without a recreational permit. A non-commercial crab trap permit is required for the use of up to two non-collapsible Chesapeake-style crab pots or two trotting lines to harvest crabs. Any Non-Collapsible Chesapeake Style Crab Pot placed in an artificial lagoon or body of water less than 150 feet wide must also include a turtle exclusion device in all pot entry shots. States estimate that female populations would need to reach 215 million to ease their restrictions, but female populations that can spawn have reached only 68.5 million, well below accepted levels. As a recreational crab, you can only keep a certain number of crabs while you are on a crab journey. These are useful for you and blue crabs. While an undersized crab isn`t in your trap, it`s in open water, getting fleshier, and producing more crabs along the way.
Slaughter rings also prevent undersized crabs from overloading your crab pot and stealing your bait. Slaughter rings are small plastic rings that fit on the sides of crab traps. Their purpose is to allow undersized crabs to escape from your crab pot. To top it all off, during this period, a harsh winter also helped decimate their population, killing 30% of the area`s adult crabs. In 2014, the total weight of crabs caught was £37 million, the lowest number on record. As a result, states have sought and implemented restrictions on blue crab fishing in the region. They reduced the number of female blue crabs allowed by 30%, and some further reduced this number as populations continued to decline. A single female can produce up to 8 million eggs and only a small fraction of these eggs become viable babies. Even their habitat is threatened, threatening their survival. In many cases, babies don`t even have grass to hide from predators, and a recent increase in the number of red drum fish that hunt babies helped reduce their numbers after a brief recovery in 2012. It is illegal to harvest or possess more than one bushel of crab per day per person or to offer crabs for sale without having a valid commercial crab licence in your possession.
The minimum size for crabs that can be harvested – measured point-to-point shell – is 4 1/2 inches for hard crabs, 3 1/2 inches for soft crabs and 3 inches for peelers or scalers. Undersized crabs and female crabs with attached eggs should be returned immediately. In Virginia, Maryland and the Potomac Rivers, where much of the blue crab is harvested and lives, female crabs and their offspring begin their migration to the Atlantic Ocean, where babies are better able to survive in salt water. If crab day goes well, you pull a lot of crabs into your traps. Everyone will be at different stages of their crustacean life, but which ones can you keep? According to the Maryland Ordinance, a foldable crab trap is defined as a manually operated portable device with a flat bottom not exceeding 20 inches x 15 inches and no more than four movable sides. The trap must be designed in such a way that crabs can escape if they do not manually apply tension to the closing mechanism. In other words, a crab trap must allow crabs to enter and exit the trap until the user pulls the line to retrieve the trap. This pulling of the leash manually closes the sides of the trap.
Sixty years ago, the Chesapeake Bay supplied 75% of the crabs harvested in the United States. Now it gives 35%. An egg-carrying female crab is easy to identify. An orange and spongy blog will come out of his belly. These are their eggs, which slowly turn brown and hatch over a period of two weeks. Crabs cannot be harvested in the Newark Bay complex. For more information, see the health consultation on page 26 of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife` 2021 Marine Fisheries Digest.