Crabs and Crabbing

Crabbing is popular among sport fishers, as traps can easily be dropped from a boat or from the end of a dock or from shore. Anglers must possess a valid Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence to catch crabs.

Check with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada office nearest to where you intend to harvest for crab closures and check the area you wish to crab in for limits.

For information regarding the type of trap that can be used to harvest crabs please visit the Gear web page.

Line drawing illustrating male and female crabsYou may not have female Red Rock or Dungeness crabs in your possession.

Immediately return any female Red Rock or Dungeness crabs you catch to the waters from which it was taken, and in the least harmful manner.

The possession limit for all crab species is 2x the daily limit.

Crabs must be measured immediately and undersized crabs released immediately.

Dungeness crab must be at least 165 mm in width. Redrock crab must measure at least 115 mm. A crab is measured in a straight line through the widest part of the carapace, or shell, from outside the points. Harvesters are advised to measure crabs using a caliper device.

It is prohibited to have in one's possession shelled or shucked crab, except at a person's place of ordinary residence.

Photo of measuring crab using caliper device

Crab Watch Program

Cartoon illustration of person in a black cloak and hat spying on a crabAt some provincial parks, a crab watch program has been put into effect to protect undersized crabs. By harvesting only legal size crabs, the breeding stock is protected.

Most crabs mature after four years and breed at least once before they reach legal size.

Report violators by calling 604-607-4186 in Vancouver, or the toll-free Observe, Record and Report number: 1-800-465-4336.