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Highly Migratory Species

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Federal Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Permits

Waters three to 200 miles offshore of state coastlines constitute the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. If you are fishing in these waters for species such as sharks, tuna, marlin, swordfish or sailfish, someone on your vessel must hold a HMS permit from NOAA Fisheries. To obtain a permit, call 888- 872-8862 or go to

Passengers fishing on the vessel who do not possess an HMS permit or have a state saltwater fishing license must register with NOAA’s National Saltwater Angler registry. Anglers holding state saltwater licenses from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Islands are also required to register.

To register, call 888-MRIP-411 (4 a.m. – midnight) or go to

Tagging Program

All recreationally landed Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABT) and billfish (marlin, sailfish, swordfish and roundscale spearfish) landed in Maryland must be tagged before being removed from the boat and reported by vessel owners to a reporting station. Nine marinas in the Ocean City area qualify as ABT/billfish reporting stations. Anglers are responsible for completing a catch card for each ABT and billfish on board the vessel when they return to port. A tag is provided for each completed catch card and the angler is required to place this tag around the tail of the fish before removing it from the vessel. Boats cannot be pulled from the water until the tag is in place. For information on obtaining tags, call Maryland DNR at 410-213-1531.

Note: Roundscale spearfish look very similar to white marlin. For more information on identification of swordfish and billfish, please go to:

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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