3715 Crabs


Published: 2015

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Title 7 Natural Resources and Environmental Control

3700 Shellfish



3700 Shellfish



3715 Crabs


3716 Crab Pot Number Buoys And Vessel Panel Color Code And Number Requirements

(revisions published May 1, 2008 to 3716 will take effect January 1, 2009.)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 The color code assigned by the Department to a commercial crab pot licensee shall be displayed on each buoy or buoys attached to the line of each crab pot deployed in the water in the following order:

1.1 The first color in the color code sequence shall be on a buoy or buoys located the farthest from the crab pot (top).

1.2 The last color in the color code sequence shall be on the buoy or buoys located the closest to the crab pot (bottom).

1.3 Any second or third color in the color code sequence between the first and last colors shall be on a buoy or buoys in the same top to bottom order as in the color code sequence.

2.0 Each color coded buoy attached to a line of a commercial crab pot shall measure at least three (3) inches by three (3) inches by three (3) inches except that a separate buoy, located between the crab pot and color-coded buoy nearest the crab pot but no closer than five (5) feet to the color coded buoy nearest the crab pot may be of lesser dimensions.

3.0 Each color in a color code shall cover a contiguous area of at least 28 square inches on a buoy.

4.0 Each color coded buoy shall be visible on the water's surface when the tide is slack and the wind is less than ten (10) miles per hour.

5.0 Each color coded buoy shall have its color or colors recognizable at all times.

6.0 If more than one licensee elects to fish his or her crab pots from the same vessel, then all licensees who fish from that vessel, up to the maximum of three licensees per vessel, shall use the same color code on the pots fished from that vessel. Any licensee who subsequently elects to fish their pots on their own and not on a vessel with other licensees retains the right to use their originally assigned color code.

7.0 The color code assigned by the Department to a commercial crab pot licensee shall be displayed on the 2' x 2' panel on the licensee's vessel in a manner that when viewed from either side of the vessel, the sequence of colors shall be as follows relative to the vessel:

7.1 The first color in the color code sequence shall be on the panel in a vertical band closest to the stern of the vessel.

7.2 The last color in the color code shall be on the panel in a vertical band closest to the bow of the vessel.

7.3 Any second or third color in the color code sequence between the first and last colors shall be on the panel in vertical band(s) in the same stern to bow order as assigned in the color code sequence.

8.0 Each color coded panel shall be visible and the color(s) shall be recognizable at all times while tending crab pots.

9.0 Each color coded panel shall be displayed as vertical bands on the panel such that each color covers a contiguous area of equal size. The panel shall not display any color other than the colors in the assigned color code except for a color used to indicate the crab pot number.

10.0 If more than one licensee, up to the maximum of three licensees per vessel, elects to fish his or her crab pots from the same vessel, then that vessel shall display the same color code panel as on the pots fished from that vessel.

11.0 A number shall be assigned by the Department to each commercial crab pot license.

12.0 The commercial crab pot licensee's number shall be displayed on the color coded panel on the licensee's vessel with at least three (3) inch high contrasting colored Arabic numerals so that said number shall be visible from either side of the vessel. If more than one licensee elects to fish his or her crab pots from the same vessel then the color coded panel shall contain all of the numbers being fished from that vessel.

13.0 The commercial crab pot licensee's number shall be displayed on at least one color coded buoy attached to each crab pot displayed in the water in at least one (1) inch high Arabic numerals. The number shall be painted in a contrasting color, branded on or carved into the buoy. If more than one licensee elects to fish his or her crab pots from the same vessel, then one of the crab pot’s license numbers assigned to that vessel shall be displayed on at least once color coded buoy attached to each crab pot fished from that vessel.

11 DE Reg. 1496 (05/01/08)

3717 Failure To Tend Crab Pots

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person who sets a crab pot in the tidal waters of the State to fail to tend and remove crabs from said pot at least once during every 72-hour period.

3718 Fish Pots – Illegal Harvest Of Crabs

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful to harvest crabs with a fish pot, fish trap or minnow trap as defined in 7 Del.C. §906(26).

5 DE Reg. 2140 (5/1/02)

3719 Maximum Number Of Crab Pots Authorized To Be Fished

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person with a valid commercial crab pot license to fish, place or cause to have placed in the waters of this State at any time more than the number of crab pots for which said person's commercial crab pot license stipulates in accordance with 7 Del.C. §2303.


3720 Non-commercial Crab Pots: Illegal Tampering Thereo

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person, other than the rightful owner of a non-commercial crab pot whose initials appear on the white float attached to said crab pot, to lift, move, take or damage any non-commercial crab pot or to take or attempt to take crabs from any non-commercial crab pot.


3721 Non-commercial Crab Pot Design; Bycatch Reduction Device

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for the owner of any non-commercial crab pot to place said crab pot in the tidal waters of this State unless said crab pot has a by-catch reduction device securely attached in each entrance such that each crab entering said crab pot must pass through the bycatch reduction device. A bycatch reduction device shall mean a metal or plastic rigid rectangle that measures on the inside no more than 1.75 inches by 4.75 inches in width. A bycatch reduction device made of metal wire shall be no less than 11 gauge rigid wire.

4 DE Reg. 1859 (5/1/01)