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Highly Migratory Species & Sharks

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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 hmspermits.noaa.gov.

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 required to register.

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

Landing Requirements

All recreationally landed Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABT), billfish (marlin, sailfish, swordfish and roundscale spearfish), and sharks landed in Maryland must be tagged before being removed from the boat and reported by vessel owners to a reporting station.

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. Sharks caught from shore must be tagged before removal from the point of landing. 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: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

Catch Card & Landing Tags

Shark anglers must complete a shark catch card and obtain a free shark tag for each fish they keep.

Shark cards and tags are available at the following reporting stations:

  • Ake Marine, Ocean City
  • Bahia Marina, Ocean City
  • Fisherman’s Marina, Ocean City
  • Ocean Pines Marina, Ocean Pines
  • Ocean City Fishing Center, Ocean City
  • Talbot Street Pier & Marina, Ocean City
  • White Marlin Marina, Ocean City
  • Sunset Marina, Ocean City
  • Pines Point Provisions and Seafood, Ocean Pines
  • Buck’s Place,Berlin (shark tags only)
  • Alltackle, Ocean City (shark tags only)
  • DNR/NRP, Col. Jack Taylor Boathouse, Ocean City (after hours dropbox)

It is Illegal:

  • For an angler to sell, barter, or trade sharks or shark parts.
  • For an angler to engage in shark finning. All sharks caught by an angler must have heads, tails and fins attached naturally to the carcass through landing.
  • To fillet sharks at sea.
  • For a highly migratory species (HMS) angling, charter/headboat, and general category (if participating in a registered Atlantic HMS tournament) permit holder to possess hammerhead sharks or oceanic whitetip sharks simultaneously with billfish, tunas, or swordfish.

Gear Restrictions

Anglers may use only handlines or rod & reel.

Sharks

SEASON, HARVEST RESTRICTIONS,
MINIMUM SIZE & DAILY CREEL/POSSESSION LIMITS

Shark Species Approved for Recreational Harvest*

season

minimum
fork length

Daily Creel Shore*

(per angler)

Daily Creel Vessel*

(per trip)

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

Bonnethead Shark

Smooth Dogfish

Open Year Round

None

Each recreational shore angler is allowed a maximum of 1 shark per calendar day from this list of approved species.

In addition, each recreational shore angler may harvest 1 of each of the following species per calendar day:

1. bonnethead

2. Atlantic
sharpnose shark

3. smooth dogfish

Each recreational vessel is allowed a maximum of 1 shark per trip from this list of approved species.

In addition, each recreational vessel may harvest 1 of each of the following species per trip:

1. bonnethead

2. Atlantic
sharpnose shark

3. smooth dogfish

Blacknose Shark

Blue Shark

Common Thresher Shark

Finetooth Shark

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Porbeagle Shark

Shortfin Mako Shark

Open Year Round

54 inches

Blacktip Shark

Bull Shark

Lemon Shark

Nurse Shark

Spinner Shark

Tiger Shark

Open Year Round Except

May 15–July 15

54 inches

great, Scalloped, & smooth Hammerhead Sharks

Open Year Round Except May 15–July 15

78 inches

Spiny Dogfish

None

None

None

None

*Sharks that are transported by vessel are considered boat assisted, and regulated under the more restrictive vessel-fishing possession limits regardless of where they were caught. All species not listed in the above table, including Sandbar and Dusky Sharks, are prohibited and must be released.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

Return to the eregulations.com home page
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Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Maryland Department of Natural Resources Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC & eRegulations.com, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/eRegulations.com directly at 413-884-1001,
JF Griffin Media
J.F. Griffin Media reaches 9,000,000 sportsmen every year through our print and digital publications. We produce 30 hunting and fishing regulation guides for 15 state agencies. For advertising information, please visit: www.jfgriffin.com