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Highly Migratory Species

Federal Highly Migratory Species Permits

To recreationally fish in federal waters for any authorized Atlantic tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks (except spiny dogfish), and within the state waters for tunas, vessel owners must have a valid federal fishing permit for their vessel. A shark endorsement is needed to fish for sharks recreationally in federal waters. Call 888-872-8862 or go to to obtain a permit/shark endorsement.

Passengers fishing on a vessel who do not possess a highly migratory species permit or have a state saltwater fishing license must register with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Saltwater Angler registry. To register, go to

Landing Requirements

All landings of bluefin tuna, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks must be reported using the Maryland Catch Card Census. Anglers must complete a catch card and exchange it for a tag to be placed around the tail before moving it from the vessel. Sharks caught from shore must be tagged before moving from the point of landing. Boats cannot be pulled from the water until the tag is in place.

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

  • Alltackle, Ocean City (shark tags only)
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
    Visitor Contact Station/Campground Office Hunter’s Station, Berlin (shark tags only)
  • Atlantic Tackle, Ocean City
  • Bahia Marina, Ocean City
  • Buck’s, Berlin (shark tags only)
  • Department of Natural Resources/Natural Resources Police, Col. Jack Taylor Boathouse, Ocean City (after hours kiosk)
  • Fisherman’s Marina, Ocean City
  • Ocean City Fishing Center, Ocean City
  • Ocean Pines Marina, Ocean Pines
  • Pines Point Provisions and Seafood, Ocean Pines
  • Sunset Marina, Ocean City
  • Talbot Street Pier and Marina, Ocean City
  • Catch cards can also be downloaded at

It is Illegal

  • To sell, barter, or trade sharks or shark parts.
  • To engage in shark finning.
  • To fillet sharks at sea. All sharks caught by an angler must have heads, tails, and fins attached naturally to the carcass through landing.
  • For a highly migratory species angling, charter/headboat, and general category (if participating in a registered Atlantic highly migratory species 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 and reel and must use corrodible, non-stainless circle hooks except when fishing with artificial flies/lures. You must have a device with you that is capable of quickly cutting either the leader or the hook.