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Sharks

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

SEASON, HARVEST RESTRICTIONS,
MINIMUM SIZE and 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

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

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

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

1. Bonnethead

2. Atlantic
Sharpnose shark

Blacknose Shark

Blue Shark

Common Thresher Shark

Finetooth Shark

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Porbeagle 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, and Smooth Hammerhead Sharks

Open Year Round Except May 15–July 15 78 inches

Shortfin Mako

Open Year Round 71 inches for males
83 inches for females

Smooth Dogfish

Open Year Round None None None

Spiny Dogfish

Open Year Round 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.

New Shark Rules (See the table for species, sizes, and seasons)

If you can’t or aren’t going to keep a shark:

  • You must immediately release it in the water

If you can’t or aren’t going to keep a shark you may not:

  • Sit on it
  • Hold its mouth open
  • Put it on dry sand
  • Put it on a boat deck
  • Use a gaff

Maximize their chance for survival:

  • Don’t place hands in the gills
  • Minimize fight times by using the appropriate gear
  • Know how to identify them, “If you don’t know let it go”
  • Have a release plan and make sure everyone knows their role
  • Cut the line, minimize trailing gear or use a dehooker

Sharks Caught Fishing in state Waters (Listed species represent a sampling which may be encountered)

Source: Guide to Sharks, Tunas and Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico by Rhode Island Sea Grant and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. To learn more about coastal Sharks in Maryland go to dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/coastal/sharkfacts.aspx

Roundscale spearfish look very similar to white marlin

For more information on identification of swordfish and billfish, please go to: fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/educational-materials/atlantic-swordfish-and-billfish-identification-guide

 

Shark Identification “If you don’t know, Let it go”

fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/shark-identification-placard

Shark illustrations by Diane Rome Peebles