BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Strap on your boots and grab your baskets, Maryland’s blue crab season is officially underway. But before hitting the waters, officials are reminding people of the rules.

The season started Sunday for the Chesapeake Bay area, as well as the Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays.

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“The beginning of blue crab season is a Maryland tradition,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “Crabbing is a unique and rewarding experience that offers everyone a great day on Maryland’s beautiful waters, a firsthand look at the environment of one of our iconic species, and finally an enjoyable feast that’s defined our state’s culture for generations.”

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says recreational crabbing licenses are required for anyone who uses collapsible crab traps, eel pots, net rings, seines or trotline, as well as those who catch more than two dozen hard crabs or more than 1 dozen soft crabs.

Owners, lessee or tenants of private shoreline properties can also crab without a license, according to the DNR. They may use up to two registered crab pots, but they must be fitted with a bycatch reduction or turtle excluder device in every entry funnel and be marked with the owner’s name and address.

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Officials say a recreational crabbing license is not required in the Atlantic Ocean or coastal bays. Also, any passenger of a boat with a valid crabbing license doesn’t need an individual license to crab.

All recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling crabs or possessing an egg-bearing (sponge) crab or any female hard or peeler crab.

Find more information about crabbing regulations here.

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