Blue crab season in Maryland begins April 1 and continues through Dec. 15. Recreational crab harvest is permitted until 5 p.m. in the Chesapeake Bay and until sunset in its tributaries. The harvest of female crabs is prohibited as part of attempts to revitalize the crab population.
Following a sharp decline in crab population that began in the 1990s, the state of Maryland also imposes daily catch limits and size limits on recreational crab harvesters in order to preserve the crab population and maintain the livelihood of commercial fishermen. Blue crabs are a signature dish in the state's cuisine and contributed over $18 million to the state's economy in 2013.