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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Return to Division of Science and Research

Click on the Lake I Fish
See advisories for the lake you fish.

Click on the Fish I Catch
Advisories for the fish I catch

Marine Advisories
Marine Specific Advisories

Eating Fish is Healthy Why is Fish Healthy for You?

Prepare\Cook Fish & Shellfish
How can I prepare and cook fish in a healthy way?

Got your Claws in New Jersey Blue Crabs?
How to Properly Clean and Cook Blue Crabs

See the 8 step process below.

2. Grasp crab by its legs and under top shell spine (stunned and can be handled bare handed).


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Do not harvest blue crabs from the Newark Bay, Hackensack River or Passaic River. Limit consumption of blue crab from the Raritan Bay to one meal per month.

Crabs from these restricted areas contain elevated levels of contaminants, such as mercury, PCBs and dioxins.

For a PDF version of Got your Claws in New Jersey Blue Crabs?

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To prevent chemical contaminants from entering your body, clean crabs thoroughly before cooking. Scrub exterior shells and remove entrails, as chemicals concentrate in the crab’s digestive organs. Be sure to remove the crab's green gland (tomalley).


Mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins are especially harmful to babies and young children. They can cause cancer, developmental impairments and miscarriage. Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, breastfeeding women and young children should not eat blue crabs from restricted areas* (*see back panel).


Do not clean or handle crab if
you have an open cut, wound, burn or a weakened immune system. Marine waters naturally carry bacteria called vibrios, which can cause life-threatening illness known as sepsis. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop bulbous lesions or other signs of infection after being pinched by a crab or having contact with marine waters.


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Research Activities
Division of Science and Research
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Director
Mailing Address:
Mail code 428-01, P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625

Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340

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Last Updated: January 30, 2020