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, 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.
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. The George
Island Landing kiosk is available for use 24 hours a day since there are no
other nearby reporting stations.
Anglers can also
download and print PDF's 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
ICCAT. "International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas."
19 Nov. 2013. http://www.iccat.int/en/introduction.htm.
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.
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401