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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.

Roundscale spearfish look very similar to white marlin

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

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

Key Catch and Release Points That Maximize Shark Survival

  • Release sharks in the water
  • Don’t drag them onto the sand
  • Don’t sit on them
  • Don’t hold their jaws open
  • Don’t place hands in the gills
  • Minimize fight times by using the appropriate gear including circle hooks
  • Know how to identify legal and prohibited species, “If you don’t know let it go”
  • Don’t gaff a shark that is going to be released
  • Have a release plan and make sure everyone knows their role
  • Cut the line, minimize trailing gear or use a dehooker

Shark illustrations by Diane Rome Peebles