News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Reminds Recreational Crabbers to Install Turtle Excluder Devices

Annapolis, Md. (May 10, 2011) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to remind recreational crabbers to install the required Turtle Excluder Device (TED) on their crab pots.

As warm weather arrives, waterfront property owners along Chesapeake Bay tributaries will set crab pots in anticipation of catching, steaming and enjoying Maryland’s signature delicacy. Every spring and summer, DNR receives reports of diamondback terrapins that are trapped and drown in some of these pots.

“Our State reptile continues to suffer the effects of nesting habitat loss and high nest predation,” said DNR Terrapin Ecologist Scott Smith. “The very least we can do as individuals is to install Turtle Excluder Devices on our waterfront crab pots, as required.”

Under normal circumstances, diamondback terrapins can live for more than 50 years, but they can not survive when trapped underwater without access to the surface.

A TED is a rectangular frame made of wire or plastic with interior dimensions not to exceed 1 inches in height and 4 inches in length. They function by not allowing most terrapins to get their shell through the opening into the crab pot, while still allowing crabs to enter. A crab pot with correctly installed TEDS will catch just as many crabs and will not drown terrapins. Commercial crab pots are prohibited from Maryland tributaries, the preferred habitat for terrapins.

In a 2009, DNR recreational crab pot survey performed a decade after DNR enacted the regulation requiring the installation of a TED to each funnel of any crab pot used by a waterfront property owner. Compliance was low, at 22 percent and 23 percent of landowners surveyed had more than the legal number (2) of crab pots attached to their docks. When setting crab pots this season, remember to check for TEDs in each funnel and be sure to ask for them when purchasing new crab pots. For more information about this regulation, visit

To make your own TED, visit

   May 10, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at