NJ Blue Crab Regulations - The Fisherman

NJ Blue Crab Regulations

Crabs may be taken recreationally in New Jersey waters with hand lines, manually operated collapsible traps or scoop nets without a license. A non-commercial crab pot license is required for the use of not more than two non-collapsible Chesapeake-style crab pots or two trot lines to harvest crabs. All non-collapsible Chesapeake-style crab pots set in any manmade lagoon or any water body less than 150 feet wide must also include a turtle excluder device inside all pot entrance funnels.

It is illegal to harvest or possess more than one bushel of crabs per day per person or offer for sale any crabs without having in your possession a valid commercial crabbing license.  The minimum size for crabs that may be harvested – measured from point to point of shell – are 4-1/2 inches for hard crabs, 3-1/2 inches for soft crabs, and 3 inches for peelers or shedders.  Undersized crabs and female crabs with eggs attached must be returned immediately.

Keep in mind that recreational trot lines shall not exceed 150 feet in length with a maximum of 25 baits.  All pots and trot lines shall be marked with the identification number of the owner, and no crab pot shall be placed in any area that would obstruct or impede navigation or in any creek less than 50 feet wide.  Crab pots must be tended at least once every 72 hours and no floating line maybe used on any pot or crab pot buoy.

No crabs may be harvested from the Newark Bay Complex. For more information, see Health Advisory on page 26 of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s 2021 Marine Fisheries Digest.  For more information go to njfishandwildlife.com.