Commercial Coastal Regulations

​The following table summarizes rules governing the harvest and possession of fish species that harvesters commonly catch in Maryland's coastal waters. This is an abridged summary and does not include all regulated species. Consult the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) and Natural Resources Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland for full legal text.

Contact the National Marine Fisheries Service by phone at (978) 281-9278 or through their website for updates in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ is all waters from the seaward boundary of coastal states (3 miles from shore) out to 200 nautical miles. Maryland waters are from the shore to 3 miles.

Rules are subject to change. It is the harvester's responsibility to know and abide by all current fishing rules.

  
Size
Season, Limits & Other Conditions
Links
American Eel
9"
You may use all gear from 1/1/2018 through 8/31/2018

Only Spear, Baited Trap and Eel Pot may be used from 9/1/2018 through 12/31/2018

Permit required

Wire mesh may not be less than ½" when unstretched
American Lobster
Carapace Length:
3-3/8" minimum
5¼" maximum
Season CLOSED February and March

Must v-notch and release egg bearing females according to COMAR 08.02.08.10

No egg bearing, scraped, scrubbed, v-notched or speared lobsters

Gear other than traps may not land more than 100 lobsters per day for a 24-hour period, or 500 lobsters per trip for a 5-day or longer period
Atlantic Menhaden
None
Open Year Round

Unlimited fishery is open until the State-wide quota is met
After the quota is met the fishery will switch to the permitted fishery
Black Sea Bass
11"
Open Year Round

Quotas by permit

Without permit - 50 lbs/vessel/day
Blue Crabs
HARD - 5"

PEELERS from April 1 through July 14 - 3 1/4"

PEELERS from July 15 through October 31 - 3 1/2"

SOFT - 3 1/2"
4/1/2018 through 10/31/2018

Season CLOSED All Other Dates

Harvest crabs and set/retrieve gear between sunrise and 8-½ hours after sunrise during April and October; and between ½ hour before sunrise to 8 hours after sunrise during May through September

Scrapes prohibited

25 bushels per commercial boat
Cobia
33" fork length
Open Year Round

2/person/day - not to exceed 6/vessel/day

May not catch, possess, or land cobia when federal waters are CLOSED.
Conch
6" length

3-3/8" girth (Channeled Whelk only)
Open Year Round

"Conch" Includes knobbed, channel and lightning whelk
Croaker
9"
3/16/2018 through 12/31/2018

Season CLOSED All Other Dates
Drum, Black
16"
Atlantic Ocean - Open Year Round

Ocean: 1500 lbs Annual Limit

Coastal Bays - CLOSED
Drum, Red
18" minimum
25" maximum
Open Year Round

5/person/day
Grouper
None
Open Year Round

175 lbs combined weight of all species defined as grouper (see list of species in links)

Several species of snapper and grouper are defined as grouper for regulation and harvesting purposes
Hard Clam
Transverse 1"
Sunrise to 4pm

Season CLOSED 6/1/2018 through 9/14/2018

Handheld Gear Only
Hydraulic dredge prohibited
Horseshoe Crab
None
5/1/2018 through 7/8/2018

May not catch or land on Saturday or Sunday

Season CLOSED Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Dec

Coastal Bays and their tribs and 1 Mile off Atlantic Coast (other areas closed)

150/person/day with permit

25/person/day without permit

Female harvest prohibited
Horseshoe Crab
None
7/9/2018 through 11/30/2018

May not catch or land on Saturday or Sunday

Season CLOSED Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Dec

Catch limits by permit

25/person/day without permit

Female harvest prohibited
Jonah Crab
None
Open Year Round

Permit required

No harvest of egg bearing crabs

Limits are based on permit and gear type. See regulation for details (COMAR 08.02.08.06)
Scup
9"
Open Year Round

Federal permit required

Limits set by ASMFC

Gear restrictions in regulation (COMAR 08.02.05.22)
Shad, American or Hickory
___
CLOSED
Harvest Prohibited
Shark, Aggregated Large Coastal Group
None
Season CLOSED 5/15/2018 through 7/15/2018

Silky, Tiger, Blacktip, Spinner, Bull, Lemon, Nurse

See public notice for limits

See regulation (COMAR 08.02.22.03) for gear and harvest requirements

May not harvest, possess, or land sharks when federal waters are CLOSED.
Shark, Hammerhead Group
None
Season CLOSED 5/15/2018 through 7/15/2018

Scalloped hammerhead, Great hammerhead, Smooth hammerhead

See public notice for limits

See regulation (COMAR 08.02.22.03) for gear and harvest requirements

May not harvest, possess, or land sharks when federal waters are CLOSED.
Shark, Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Group
None
Open Year Round

Atlantic sharpnose, Finetooth, Bonnethead

See regulation (COMAR 08.02.22.03) for gear and harvest requirements

May not harvest, possess, or land sharks when federal waters are closed.
Shark, Pelagic Group
None
Open Year Round

Shortfin mako, Porbeagle, Common thresher, Oceanic whitetip, Blue

See regulation (COMAR 08.02.22.03) for gear and harvest requirements

May not harvest, possess, or land sharks when federal waters are closed.
Shark, Prohibited and Research Groups
___
CLOSED
Harvest Prohibited

Prohibited: Sand Tiger, Bigeye Sandtiger, Whale, Basking, White, Dusky, Bignose, Galapagos, Night, Reef, Narrowtooth, Caribbean Sharpnose, Smalltail, Atlantic Angel, Longfin Mako, Bigeye Thresher, Sharpnose Sevengill, Bluntnose Sixgill, Bigeye Sixgill

Research: Sandbar
Shark, Smoothhound (smooth dogfish)
None
Open Year Round

See Regulation (COMAR 08.02.22.03) for gear and harvesting requirements

smooth dogfish carcasses may be landed with corresponding fins removed from the carcass as long as the total retained catch on board at the time of offloading is composed of at least 25 percent, by weight, smooth dogfish
Spanish Mackerel
14"
Open Year Round

3,500 lbs/vessel/day or trip, whichever is longer
Spiny Dogfish
None
Open Year Round

Limits established by public notice

No more than one spiny dogfish vessel limit may be landed from one vessel per day
Spotted Sea Trout
14"
Open Year Round

150 lbs/day or trip, whichever is longer

Trawl mesh min. 3-3/8" square or 3-3/4" diamond stretched

Gill net mesh min. 3" stretched
Striped Bass
24''
Season CLOSED 6/1/2018 through 9/30/2018

May not catch or land on Saturday or Sunday

Permit required

Allocation determined annually
Summer Flounder
16.5" - Hook and Line

14" - All Other Gear
Open Year Round

Quotas by permit

Without a Permit: 100 lbs/person/day
Tautog
16"
Season Closed 5/16/2018 through 6/30/2018

1/1/2018 through 5/15/2018

and

11/1/2018 through 12/31/2018

4/person/day

A pot and trap shall have hinges on one panel/door made of untreated hemp or jute string 3/16" diameter or smaller, magnesium alloy fasteners or ungalvinized/uncoated iron wire of 0.094" diameter
Tautog
16"
7/1/2018 through 10/31/2018

2/person/day

A pot and trap shall have hinges on one panel/door made of untreated hemp or jute string 3/16" diameter or smaller, magnesium alloy fasteners or ungalvinized/uncoated iron wire of 0.094" diameter
Tilefish
None
Open Year Round

Blueline tilefish, Golden tilefish and Sand tilefish

300 lbs combined weight of all species defined as tilefish (excludes individuals with federal Golden Tilefish Quota)

Note: State and federal limits are different. You must follow the state limits.
Weakfish
12"
Open Year Round

100 lbs/day or trip whichever is longer

The weight of the weakfish may not exceed the weight of the catch of the other species on board the vessel

Trawl mesh min. 3-3/8" square or 3-3/4" diamond stretched mesh

Gill net mesh min. 3" stretched

Harvest with hook and line prohibited