Recreational Catch Card and Tagging Program for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (ABT), Billfishes, and Coastal Sharks
Tunas, billfishes, swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and some sharks are governed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas assigns catch quotas to each member country. Since the United States is a member country, recommendations such as minimum sizes and quotas are implemented by the Highly Migratory Species Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service. The National Marine Fisheries Service requires all recreational anglers to report bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), billfishes, and swordfish. Additionally, all landed sharks (except spiny dogfish) are required to be reported in Maryland. To fulfill this requirement, the National Marine Fisheries Service works with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources by providing technical support and funding to implement a Catch Card Census Program, which began in 1999. These data are used to monitor the performance of those fisheries. Large pelagic species can be more precisely managed when the Catch Card Census Program and the National Marine Fisheries Service Large Pelagics Intercept Survey are used in combination, resulting in improved data.
Beginning in 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service requested that the catch cards collect the number of live and dead bluefin tuna releases. This information will meet a National Marine Fisheries Service reporting requirement to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. Those variables were also added to the catch cards for billfishes and sharks. Swordfish are included with billfishes for the Catch Card Program.
How it Works
Anglers are responsible for completing a catch card when they return to port for each bluefin tuna, billfish, swordfish, or shark on board the vessel. 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. Trailered boats cannot be pulled from the water until the tag is in place.
Shore-based shark anglers also need to complete a catch card and tag landed sharks. The tag is affixed between the second dorsal fin and caudal fin. Shore-based shark anglers do not need to include a highly migratory species permit number or registration number as they apply to anglers fishing from boats.
Anglers that use self-serve kiosks are expected to complete the catch card and the attached receipt which replaces the tag. The catch card is to be deposited into the locked box at the kiosk.
Anglers can also download and print PDFs of the bluefin tuna, billfish, and shark catch cards ahead of time. Complete it on the way to the reporting station and turn it in for a tag or keep the receipt if using an after-hours kiosk.
Please be aware that anglers who recreationally land swordfish or billfishes outside of tournaments cannot use the National Marine Fisheries Service Highly Migratory Species Non-tournament Reporting website if landing in either Maryland or North Carolina, it must still be reported using a catch card.
Where to get Catch Cards and Tags
Maryland Catch Card Reporting Station Information
|12930 Sunset Ave.||West Ocean City||(410) 213-0421||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2197 Herring Way||Ocean City||(410) 289-7438||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|12806 Sunset Ave.||Ocean City||(410) 213-2478||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Ocean City Fishing Center
|12940 Inlet Isle Lane West||Ocean City||(410) 213-1121||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|12911 Sunset Ave.||West Ocean City||(410) 213-9600||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|869 Yacht Club Drive||Ocean Pines||(410) 641-2248||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Talbot Street Pier & Marina
|311 Talbot St.||Ocean City||(410) 289-9125||Yes||Yes||Yes|
MDNR/NRP Boat House Kiosk
|12917 Harbor Road||West Ocean City||(410) 213-1531||Yes||Yes||Yes|
After Business Hours
|12826 B Ocean Gateway||Ocean City||(410) 213-2840||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|11848 Assateague Rd.||Berlin, MD||(443) 513-4661||No||No||Yes|
|205 Somerset St.||Ocean City, MD||410-289-6470||Yes||Yes||Yes|
ICCAT. "International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas." 19 Nov. 2013. iccat.int/en/
NMFS. "Introduction to the Highly Migratory Species Management Division." 19 Nov. 2013. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/intro_HMS.htm. NMFS Statistics Division. Personal Communication. 29 Jan. 2014.
Catch Card and Tagging Program after-hours kiosk located at
the Maryland Department of Natural Resources
field office in West Ocean City.