New Trap Regulations for Recreational Crabbing in California

crab buoy
New trap buoy configuration
CDFW photo by P. Ward

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted new regulations for the recreational crab fishery in late 2020. The revised regulations include the following new requirements when fishing with crab traps:

  • A standardized buoy and additional red buoy marker for each trap
  • All crab traps must be serviced at least every 9 days
  • A Recreational Crab Trap Validation is required when fishing crab traps
  • A limit of 10 traps per person

Also note that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director can now implement a season delay or early season closure due to marine life entanglement risk. Notices of delay or closure will be posted on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Whale Safe Fisheries web page at least 5 days before any delay or closure. Crabbers can also sign up to receive important season information and updates on the web page.  

The new regulations are in effect beginning November 1, 2021. The Recreational Crab Trap Validation can now be purchased online as well as from other approved license sales agents. For more information, please visit the California Fish and Game Commission’s Regulations web page.


post by Ryan Bartling, CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist

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