RECREATIONAL BLUE CRAB REGULATIONS - OCTOBER 2018
This is not an official copy of the laws or regulations. This explanation of the laws and regulations is correct as of the date specified. Before taking part in this fishery, please call 251-861-2882 or 251-968-7576 for updated information. It is the fisherman's responsibility to know the laws and regulations in effect at any given time.
1. Individuals can use up to, but not more than five (5) crab traps for taking crabs for personal, non-commercial purposes but must purchase a resident or non-resident annual or 7-day trip Saltwater Fishing License.
2. No person shall take, catch, sell, transport, or possess blue crabs that measure less than five (5) inches carapace width as measured from the tip of one lateral spine to tip of the opposite lateral spine.
3. Crabs taken by licensed recreational shrimp boats in exclusive bait areas or in waters open to commercial shrimping for use as bait are exempt from minimum size limit (limited to no more than the number of crabs held by a one-gallon container per boat per day).
4. Licensed recreational shrimp boats taking crabs in waters open to commercial shrimping are limited to no more than one 5-gallon container of legal sized crabs in possession per boat.
5. It is unlawful to set or place traps in any waters in the Mobile Delta north of Interstate Highway 10 eastbound lane and/or State Highway 90 Battleship Parkway (whichever is the southernmost highway).
6. It is unlawful to set or place a crab trap in the access canals to Heron Bay (west of and adjacent to State Hwy. 193) or within 300 feet of any navigational channel marked by a lawfully established system of waterway markers or within 300 feet of any public boat launching ramp or public pier, Heron Bay Cut-off, or the mouth of West Fowl River, Weeks Bay, Fish River, Magnolia River, any man-made canal, or in any manner so as to prevent ingress or egress to or from any pier, wharf, dock, marina, or boat launching ramp.
7. (a) The conditions for setting or placing recreational traps in the areas named in 7(b) and 7(c) are:
- Such trap must be physically attached by a line to a pier, dock, piling, bulkhead, boathouse, or other structure, on or attached to the shore.
- The line shall allow the trap to be placed no farther than a distance of 10' from the pier, dock, boathouse, or shoreline.
- No more than 5 traps are allowed per property.
(b) Recreational traps used for the taking of crabs or other seafood may be set or placed in the following rivers, creeks, bayous, bay, or canal, or their tributaries, under the conditions as set forth in 7(a).
- MOBILE COUNTY
- Mobile River
- Dog River
- Theodore Industrial Canal
- Fowl River
- Northwest arm of Heron Bay
- Heron Bayou (Long Bayou)
- Bayou Coden
- Bayou La Batre
- Bill's Bayou (Heron Bay)
- BALDWIN COUNTY
- Fly Creek
- Fish River
- Magnolia River
- Bon Secour River (north of channel Marker #7 & #8)
- Wolf Creek
- Sandy Creek
- Miflin Creek
- Hammock Creek
- Robert's Bayou
- Soldier Creek
- Palmetto Creek
- Old River (between Ono Island and Perdido Key)
(c) Recreational traps used for the taking of crabs or other seafood may be set or placed in man-made canals (including but not limited to the following on Dauphin Island), under the conditions as set forth in 7(a).
- Quivera Bay
- Polaris Lagoon
- Port Royal Lagoon
- Lafitte Bay
- Indian Bay
- Indian Canal
- Buchanan Bay
- Columbia Bay
- Colony Cove
- Spanish Bay
- Barcelona Bay
- Confederate Bay
- Salt Creek (Heron Bayou)
- Government Cut
- Billy Goat Hole
8. Crab traps shall not exceed twenty-seven (27) cubic feet in volume.
9. All crab traps must contain at least two (2) unobstructed escape rings with a minimum inside diameter of 2 5/16 inches located on a vertical surface. There must be one ring per chamber.
10. From April 1 through September 30, a licensed crab catcher may obstruct or remove the escape rings, after obtaining a permit from the Marine Resources Division, for the purpose of catching pre-molt crabs, otherwise known as "busters" or "peelers".
11. Except from January 15 through May 15, all egg-bearing females, otherwise known as gravid, berried, or sponge crabs, must be immediately returned to the water. Possession of egg-bearing female crabs shall be prohibited with the exception of January 15 through May 15.
12. Recreational crab traps must be marked with an orange, floating, visible buoy not less than six (6) inches in diameter or width. The buoy must have a legible "R", at least two (2) inches high, permanently affixed to it.
13. It is unlawful to take crabs from traps belonging to another person without written authorization from the owner.
14. Crab traps which are no longer serviceable or in use must be removed from the water by the owner. No person shall intentionally damage or destroy crab traps or the floats or lines attached thereto.
15. Any unidentified, improperly marked, or illegally placed crab trap is considered a nuisance and will be confiscated.
16. During the first and second day of each calendar month, a validly licensed crab catcher may recover crab traps that are unidentified and derelict or abandoned. The catcher shall report to the Marine Resources Division the number of traps recovered, the location of the recovery of each trap, and any additional information required by the Division. The report shall be made no later than the close of business day following the recovery of a crab trap (excludes holidays and weekends).