Catch Card and Tagging Program

CatchCardCensusSwordfishFlyer_2020.jpgRecreational 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.

Billfish Catch Card Shark Catch Card

Where to get Catch Cards and Tags

Maryland Catch Card Reporting Station Information

Atlantic Tackle
12930 Sunset Ave.West Ocean City(410) 213-0421YesYesYes
Business Hours
Bahia Marina
2197 Herring WayOcean City(410) 289-7438YesYesYes
Business Hours
Fisherman's Marina
12806 Sunset Ave.Ocean City(410) 213-2478YesYesYes
Business Hours
Ocean City Fishing Center
12940 Inlet Isle Lane WestOcean City(410) 213-1121YesYesYes
Business Hours
Sunset Marina
12911 Sunset Ave.West Ocean City(410) 213-9600YesYesYes
Business Hours
Pines Point Marina
869 Yacht Club DriveOcean Pines(410) 641-2248YesYesYes
Business Hours
Talbot Street Pier & Marina
311 Talbot St.Ocean City(410) 289-9125YesYesYes
Business Hours
MDNR/NRP Boat House Kiosk
12917 Harbor RoadWest Ocean City(410) 213-1531YesYesYes
After Business Hours
12826 B Ocean GatewayOcean City(410) 213-2840YesYesYes
Business Hours
Buck's Place
11848 Assateague Rd.Berlin, MD(443) 513-4661NoNoYes
Business Hours
White Marlin Marina
205 Somerset St.Ocean City, MD410-289-6470YesYesYes
Business Hours

Assateague Island National Seashore Visitor Contact Station/Campground Office Hunter’s Station (Deer Checking) Kiosk​

6633 Bayberry Dr.Berlin, MDNoNoYes
After Business Hours

Assateague State Park
Ranger Station

Nature Center Shark Kiosk
Dune crossing behind nature center

Park Boat Ramp Shark Kiosk
West side at base of Verrazano Bridge​

6915 Stephen Decatur Highway/Campground Rd. Berlin, MDNoNoYes
After Business Hours


ICCAT. "International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas." 19 Nov. 2013.​

NMFS. "Introduction to the Highly Migratory Species Management Division." 19 Nov. 2013. NMFS Statistics Division. Personal Communication. 29 Jan. 2014.

Photo showing the 3 kinds of tags - bluefin tuna, shark and billfish. 

After Hours Reporting Station 

Catch Card and Tagging Program after-hours kiosk located at
Maryland Department of Natural Resources field office in West Ocean City.