Recreational Blue Crabbing: Fishing Regulations

Recreational Blue Crabbing: Fishing Regulations


Blue crabs are vulnerable to pollution,
habitat loss and harvest pressure. Georgia’s blue crab fishery is managed
by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division.
Catch and size limits are intended to keep crabbers from taking too many crabs at
one time and protect crabs of spawning size. It is important for recreational
crabbers to abide by blue crab fishing regulations in order to maintain a
healthy and sustainable population. Residents and non-residents 16 years and
older who crab recreationally in Georgia are required by law to obtain a fishing
license as well as a free saltwater information program, or SIP, permit.
However, Georgia residents crabbing off their private property are not required
to have a license. For complete details about Georgia fishing license
requirements, visit the following website. Blue crab size limits dictate that the
crab must measure at least 5 inches from spike to spike along its carapace. Blue
crabs measuring less than 5 inches, other than peelers or a mature adult
female, are illegal to harvest. Mature adult females, or Sooks, can be identified
by their apron, which is more rounded and resembles the Capitol dome. It is
unlawful to harvest female crabs bearing eggs. These are commonly referred to as
sponge crabs and can be easily identified by the orange or black mass
of eggs on the underside of the carapace. Learn how to identify male and female
blue crabs by watching our Blue Crab Biology video. Licensed recreational
crabbers may take no more than one bushel of crabs during a 24-hour period.
One and a half 5-gallon buckets full of Jimmy crabs that are approximately 5 to
7 inches in size is about the same as one bushel of blue crabs. No more than 2
bushels may be taken recreationally or possessed during a 24-hour period on a
boat with more than one person on board. For more information, visit the Marine
Extension and Georgia Sea Grant website.

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