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Commissioner, John M.R. Bull

Commissioner’s Message

Welcome to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.  We serve as stewards of the Commonwealth’s marine and aquatic resources, and protectors of its tidal waters and homelands, for present and future generations.

We manage saltwater fishing, both recreational and commercial.  We work to create and maintain sustainable fisheries for the benefit of all anglers and the ecosystem.

We also manage water bottoms in public trust for the citizens of the Commonwealth.  Our Habitat Management Division works with those who wish to use them for piers or water-dependent projects.

Our Law Enforcement Division, the Virginia Marine Police, patrols the waterways to enforce the regulations and to assist citizens in need.

We take our duties seriously, striving always to serve the public in a professional, responsive and responsible way.

Please join us as protectors of our critical natural resources so that they remain for our children and grandchildren to enjoy them as we do.


Important Links

VMRC Regulations

Recreational Fishing Rules

Anglers Guide

What We Do


Agency News

January 27, 2016: Effective Thursday, January 28, 2016, fishing vessels entering Virginia waters will be allowed to possess aboard, but not land, the legal North Carolina trip limit. [Notice]

January 26, 2016:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted today to take a seven-month pause in the processing or assigning of any new or appending shellfish leases in the Lynnhaven River or its tributaries in Virginia Beach, in order to seat a study panel to attempt to resolve user conflicts between shellfish industry practices, recreational boaters and waterfront property owners. In other action, the Commission revoked the licenses and tidal fishing privileges of eight commercial watermen after their court convictions for serious natural resources violations. [Meeting Summary]

December 8, 2015: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has decided to close Pultz Bar in Mobjack Bay, which was scheduled to open for harvest on January 1, in order to protect an exceptionally large spatset that should yield higher harvests when they grow to market size. The Towe Stake area in Mobjack Bay will open as scheduled on January 1. The Commission also agreed, on a trial basis, to allow hand tongs as a legal gear type on public grounds for the seaside on the Eastern Shore in what had been hand-harvest only areas. Watermen using hand tongs on those seaside grounds will have to purchase the All Gear Oyster User Fee ($300), rather than the By Hand Only User Fee ($50) and will be confined to a daily possession limit of eight bushels per licensee.

Also, at industry’s request, the Commission decided to switch the third month of the James River handscrape season from March to January. As a result, the James River handscrape areas will be open from January 1 through January 31, 2016. As a reminder, after January 1, harvest on all oyster handscrape and dredge areas will be allowed on Monday through Friday. The oyster harvest has skyrocketed in recent years, climbing from 24,000 bushels in 2003 to almost 660,000 bushels last year. [Updates on Harvest Season Openings] [Virginia Oyster Harvests, 1958-2015] [Commission Meeting Summary]


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VMRC in the News


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