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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

April 19, 2017 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Scientific Survey Shows Promising Blue Crab Stock Abundance with Boost to Adult Females: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today released the results of the 2017 blue crab winter dredge survey, which shows a 31 percent increase in adult female crabs and forecasts another year of improved harvests. [Press Release]

April 18, 2017:  REMINDER:
Any individual commercial licensee who is eligible for the Public Oyster Resource User Fee must pay this fee by April 30, 2017 in order to maintain their eligibility in the fishery. The user fee may be purchased at the VMRC main office at 2600 Washington Ave Newport News VA or at any of the VMRC license agents.

April 11, 2017: 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has reduced the retention limit for the commercial aggregated large coastal shark and hammerhead shark management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 25 to 3 sharks per vessel per trip effective 11:30 p.m. April 15, 2017. [ASMFC Notice]

March 29, 2017:
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) is hosting two workshops in late April to help the for-hire community prepare for submitting Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) electronically. The Council approved a measure last year that will phase out the current paper-based reports over the coming year. For-hire vessel operators/owners who must report VTRs for species managed by the Mid-Atlantic Council will need to report using their mobile device or personal computer in order to be in compliance. While all options for electronic reporting will be briefly discussed, the workshops will focus on hands-on training for the eTrips/mobile and eTrips/PC system, a free program developed by the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP). [Workshop Notice]

March 28, 2017: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today voted unanimously to open the recreational cobia fishery on June 1 and to close it on Sept. 15. Anglers may keep one fish per day and the daily vessel possession limit will increase from two to three fish per day. The minimum size limit will remain at 40 inches, with one fish per vessel allowed to be 50 inches or greater. Gaffing will continue to be prohibited. These measures were a compromise to appropriately manage a stock that has seen increased fishing effort in recent years. [Meeting Summary]

March 24, 2017: Over 280,000 fish tagged by volunteer taggers over 22 years !  Click on the link to read this and other interesting facts about the cooperative game fish tagging project conducted by MRC and VIMS.  [VGFTP Flyer]

March 23, 2017:
Emergency Shellfish Closure # 046-081 “Perrin River” in Gloucester County has been rescinded effective March 23, 2017. All shellfish harvesting waters have returned to their prior classification.  Details may be found through a link available on the Division’s home page.

March 8, 2017: The Commission has developed a mobile app that uses smartphone GPS to show the users position relative to shellfish leases and other map features. Mapped areas include private oyster ground leases, oyster ground applications, fixed fishing devices, public clamming grounds, artificial reefs and the blue crab sanctuary. The app is available from the Apple or Google app stores, search for "VMRC Maps" on your smartphone to install, or click on the following link to learn more: [VMRC Maps].

February 28, 2017: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission board today voted to raise recreational summer flounder size limit from 16 to 17 inches, due to below average reproduction over the past six years and to meet a requirement of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The daily possession limit will remain at four fish per angler, and the season will remain open year-round. In other action, the board revoked the fishing licenses of a commercial harvester for the third time in the past four years, this time for five years for fishing while under license revocation. [Meeting Summary]

February 28, 2017: Effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday March 1, 2017, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. [Notice]

February 15, 2017: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission is accepting nominations to fill a vacancy on the Virginia Recreational Fishing Advisory Board (RFAB) for a three-year term. All members are given the opportunity to continue serving additional three-year terms at the pleasure of the Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. We hope to receive recommendations for members from Virginia Beach and Southside areas or the Eastern Shore. Please submit nominations to Alicia Nelson (Alicia.Nelson@mrc.virginia.gov) by February 27, 2017 – the nomination request is attached. [Notice]


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