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Highly Migratory Species

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

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, go to countmyfish.noaa.gov/register.

Landing Requirements

All recreationally landed bluefin tuna, billfish (marlin, sailfish, swordfish and roundscale spearfish), and sharks (except spiny dogfish) 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 the Department of Natural Resources at 410-213-1531.

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

  • Atlantic Tackle, 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)
  • Catch cards can also be downloaded at http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/coastal/tagging.aspx

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.