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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 3, 2017: The agency has reconfigured the boundaries of the oyster sanctuaries in the Rappahannock River by the Norris bridge. The new boundaries give watermen a substantial transit area of roughly three-quarters of a mile when going past the bridge in the mainstem of the river. This is being done so no one will inadvertently risk crossing the sanctuaries with dredge gear when going to or from designated harvest areas. Here is a new map of the area. [Sanctuary Boundary Map]

December 27, 2016: States Seek Input on 2017 Recreational Summer Flounder Fishery Management. A notice from ASMFC [here]

December 22, 2016: The VMRC will be closed Friday, December 23rd and Monday December 26 for the Holidays.

December 21, 2016: NOAA Fisheries Announces Revised Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Catch Limits [Info here]

December 21, 2016: Mid-Atlantic Council Initiates Action in Response to Overage of Black Sea Bass Catch Limit [Press release here]

December 21, 2016: A Holidays notice regarding oysters from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission [Press release here].

December 13, 2016: The Commission board today voted unanimously to raise commercial harvest license and gear use fees for the first time in 12 years. This was done to preserve core agency services in the face of a 7.5 percent budget cut. The increases will take effect in December of 2017. The increases were capped at either $5 or the rate of inflation since the last time a particular gear fee was established or raised. Some gear fees had not been increased since the 1990s and a few had remained unchanged since 1979. In other action, the board voted to require recreational anglers to file catch reports in 2017 for Cobia, Grouper, Tilefish and Striped Bass during the spring trophy fishery, in an effort to improve catch and effort data to benefit those fisheries. [Meeting Summary]

November 30, 2016:
The results of the latest cobia angler survey by MRC have been compiled and are viewable [here]

November 17, 2016: Notice: the toll free operator assisted FIP registration service has been discontinued due to budget constraints. All anglers required to register in FIP must register for themselves online, or have someone do their FIP registration for them using the "Register Online" button at the following web link:

November 3, 2016: 
Effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Thursday, November 10, 2016, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will re-open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. [Notice]

November 2, 2016: 
Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced November is Virginia Oyster Month in the Commonwealth. The month of November is an excellent opportunity for visitors and Virginians to experience fresh wild-caught and farm-raised oysters from Virginia's eight different oyster regions, as well as participate in the numerous oyster festivals and events across the state. [Governor's Press Release]

November 1, 2016:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission board today revoked the licenses of seven commercial watermen, most of them after being videotaped by the Virginia Marine Police and convicted in court of poaching oysters from a sanctuary in the Rappahannock River. The revocation periods ranged from one month to five years, based on the degree of culpability and their histories of natural resources violations. [Meeting SummaryOffender News Release]

Click here for the news archive

VMRC in the News

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