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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 23, 2015, A 606-pound bluefin tuna, caught on April 6, 2015 by Chase Robinson, of Virginia Beach, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Robinson’s catch surpasses the existing record of 573-pounds, caught in June of 2007 by Frederick “Bo” Haycox of Virginia Beach. [ Press Release ]

April 17, 2015, Attention: Commercial and For-Hire Recreational Fishing industries: the State of Virginia is working on a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) funded project to develop site specific BMPs for the VA Wind Energy Area (WEA) and a Communication Strategy targeted to the Commercial and For-Hire Recreational Fishing industries to inform them of engagement opportunities and information relative to the VA WEA. We are seeking your participation in the upcoming April 21rst meeting from 6:30-7:30 PM at the VB Aquarium and Marine Science Center. This meeting is intended for the Commercial and Charter Fishing Industries only, focused efforts for the general recreational communities will commence in upcoming meetings.  If you have any questions about this meeting or project please contact Todd V. Janeski at tvjaneski@vcu.edu or 804.828.5258. [More on Offshore Wind Energy Fisheries Planning]

April 16, 2015: 
Accurate accounting of Trophy Striped Bass caught during the spring season is essential to maintaining this fishery. To this end, striped bass rules adopted in December 2014 require Virginia recreational saltwater fishermen participating in the Spring Trophy Season (May 1 – May 15 coastal and May 1- June 15 Bay and tribs; minimum size limit 36 inches) to obtain a no-cost permit. The permit is only required for trophy striped bass fishermen 16 or older and not fishing on a legally licensed headboat or charter boat. The new no-cost trophy permit can be obtained at VMRC license agents or can also be obtained by the fisherman directly via a new online process: [New Online No-Cost Permit Process] [VMRC License Agent Locations]. Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay and tributaries spring slot limit season opens May 16 and runs through June 15. During this period recreational anglers can keep two striped bass between 20 and 28 inches. However, anglers possessing a Trophy Striped Bass Permit may keep one trophy-sized striped bass (36 inches or greater) as one of their two-fish possession limit. [Striper Regulation Summary Card]

April 3, 2015:
Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Monday, April 6, 2015, the commercial directed menhaden gill net fishery will be closed. Based on landing reports from mandatory harvest reporting and Virginia seafood buyers, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 100% of the 1,521,108 pounds of the directed menhaden gill net quota, by Monday, April 6, 2015. Therefore, after 6:00 P.M., EDST, April 6, 2015 it shall be unlawful to harvest or land more than 6,000 pounds of menhaden per day, for commercial purposes, by use of gill net in Virginia, for the remainder of 2015. [ Closure Notice ]

March 26, 2015: Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Sunday, April 19, 2015, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will close [ Closure Notice ]

March 19, 2015: Notices regarding striped bass recreational fishing management options to be considered at the public hearing to be held at the Commission meeting on March 24th. [Management Options Letter] [Public Notice]

March 17, 2015:
Reminder for 2015 Blue Crab Bushel & Barrel Limits for the Commercial Crab Fishery

From March 17, 2015 through March 31, 2015, any harvester legally licensed for a crab pot license is limited to the following harvest and possession limits shown below:

1) 8 bushels, or 2 barrels and 2 bushels, of crabs, if licensed for up to 85 crab pots.
2) 10 bushels, or 3 barrels and 1 bushel, of crabs, if licensed for up to 127 crab pots.
3) 13 bushels, or 4 barrels and 1 bushel, of crabs, if licensed for up to 170 crab pots.
4) 21 bushels, or 7 barrels of crabs, if licensed for up to 255 crab pots.
5) 27 bushels, or 9 barrels of crabs, if licensed for up to 425 crab pots.

From April 1, 2015 through July 4, 2015, any harvester legally licensed for a crab pot license is limited to the following harvest and possession limits shown below:

1) 10 bushels, or 3 barrels and 1 bushel, of crabs, if licensed for up to 85 crab pots.
2) 14 bushels, or 4 barrels and 2 bushels, of crabs, if licensed for up to 127 crab pots.
3) 18 bushels, or 6 barrels, of crabs, if licensed for up to 170 crab pots.
4) 29 bushels, or 9 barrels and 2 bushels, of crabs, if licensed for up to 255 crab pots.
5) 47 bushels, or 15 barrels and 2 bushels, of crabs, if licensed for up to 425 crab pots.

Because some harvesters use barrels rather than bushels, the Commission defined a barrel to be equivalent in volume to no more than 3 bushels of crabs.

Bushel limits after July 4, 2015 will be established by the Commission during the spring of 2015. This spring time-table will allow the most up-to-date results of the 2014/2015 Bay-wide Winter Dredge Survey to be available to develop sustainable bushel limits.

March 12, 2015: Anglers Reel-in over 5000 Citations in 2014 ! Check out the 2014 Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament closing press release for more statistics on trophy fish caught in 2014. [Closing Press Release] [Summary] [2014 Leading Entries] [Tournament Page]

March 6, 2015: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the establishment of amendments to regulations, as proposed [Notice]


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