Crab species had not been exploited until recently in the San Matías Gulf. An experimental trap fishery plan was developed to provide information on the feasibility of their potential extraction. Sampling was carried out using an artisanal shellfish boat in the San Matías Gulf. Nine baited traps, three of each type (cubical, tubular-conical and tubular-pyramidal) were intercalated along a master line. The total number of crabs of each species caught was compared among lines (N=27), types of trap and soaking times (6, 24 and 48 h). A total of 137 traps of 243 traps employed caught crabs. More crabs were caught in the cubical traps than in the other types. Comparisons of numbers of crabs among lines allowed identification of areas having different relative abundances, with an average of 3.56 crabs per trap. The catch of Ovalipes trimaculatus was significantly greater in lines on the 10-m isobath. Two lines, on the 50-m isobath, showed the best results for Platyxanthus patagonicus. The total number of crabs per trap obtained during a soaking time of 6 h was significantly less than the number caught with longer soaking times. Only individuals exceeding 50 mm in carapace width were caught. The size-frequency distributions differed significantly between sexes for the two species, with males larger than females. In O. trimaculatus, males made up 29% of the catch and the remainder was constituted of non-ovigerous females; mean carapace width was 92.93 mm for females and 105.93 mm for males. Forty per cent of P. patagonicus were males (mean carapace width: 99.33 mm). Females bearing eggs amounted to 45% of the total females. Females' mean carapace width was 90.58 mm. Based on the results obtained, preliminary suggestions for management of a potential fishery for these species are made within a precautionary approach.