June 20, 2019 – Police charged Lotte Plaza Market in Germantown with offering three bushels of egg-bearing female blue crabs — known as sponge crabs — for sale in violation of the state’s conservation laws.

After receiving a tip, Maryland Natural Resources Police officers conducted an inspection of the market June 5. Store employees told police the crabs came from North Carolina, but were unable to produce a bill of lading. Sponge crabs can be legally imported from other states at certain times of the year (between May 11 and July 20 this year), but proof of their origin is necessary. 

It is always illegal to harvest female egg-bearing crabs in Maryland waters.

Officers cited the company for the unlawful importation of egg-bearing female crabs. The citation can carry a penalty of $650. The three bushels of crabs were seized and donated to a food center in Rockville.