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.
Recreational FishingRec Fishing Regulations
Commercial FishingRecent Regulations
Law EnforcementLE Field Offices
Habitat ManagementHabitat Permits
May 23, 2013: You may fish without a license during the second weekend in June. Take advantage of the free fishing days, June 7, 8 and 9, 2013 and enjoy the great outdoors with your family and friends without having to spend money for a fishing license. <Press Release>
May 15, 2013: Effective 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Thursday, May 16, 2013, the Virginia horseshoe crab commercial fishery for any gear other than trawl, dredge, pound net, or hand harvest, will close. Based upon landing reports from Virginia seafood buyers and horseshoe crab harvesters, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 100% of the horseshoe crab quota allocated to harvest by gears other than trawl, dredge, and pound net, or hand harvest, by the above date and time. <Notice>
May 1, 2013: At the April 23, 2013 Commission meeting, a user conflict in the horseshoe crab fishery was brought to the attention of the Commission during a public comment period.
To appropriately address this issue, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission will hold a horseshoe crab industry meeting to gain industry input on fishery modifications for the 2013 horseshoe crab season on Thursday, May 16, 2013 from 4-7 p.m. at the Chincoteague Community Center located at 6155 Community Dr, Chincoteague Island, VA.
April 25, 2013: On April 23, 2013, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission extended the public oyster ground hand tong harvest season in the James River seed area including the deep water shoal state replenishment seed area through Friday, May 17, 2013 for the harvest of seed oysters only. <Notice>
April 23, 2013: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has scheduled a public hearing and vote next month to repeal the existing oyster taxes and replace them with an annual user fee on all oyster industry participants. The revenues raised by the fees would be used for the agency’s annual oyster replenishment program, which benefits the oyster industry. This reform of the oyster tax system was proposed and unanimously endorsed by an industry panel last summer and is required under House Bill 1400, which was unanimously approved by the Virginia General Assembly this winter. <Meeting Summary>
April 19, 2013: The annual scientific winter dredge survey of the bay-wide blue crab population shows a mixed bag of good, and not-so-good, news that may result in a slight tightening of commercial harvest restrictions. The overall abundance of blue crabs dropped precipitously, from 765 million to 300 million crabs. This was because the number of juvenile crabs plummeted from 581 million to a mere 111 million. This reduction in abundance was not a result of overfishing and may have been caused by increased predation and other factors. <Press Release>
April 15, 2013: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has adopted a new fee schedule for oyster ground applications, transfers, recording, assignment, restaking and surveying, effective
May 1, 2013. These fees have not been adjusted since at least 1998. <Fee
April 5, 2013: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission is preparing to embark on the largest state-funded oyster replenishment initiative in state history, thanks to a record $2 million appropriated in the budget by Governor Robert F. McDonnell and the Virginia General Assembly. The program provides significant ecological and economic benefits. A single adult oyster can purge up to 50 gallons of water a day, and every $1 spent by the state to plant oyster shells yields $7 in economic benefits in the form of larger harvests and oyster industry jobs. <Press Release> <Funding History>
April 3, 2013: The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is urging fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide their input on Draft Addendum III to the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for American Eels. <Announcement | Draft Addendum III American Eel>
March 29, 2013: Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Friday, April 5, 2013, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will close. Vessels that have entered Virginia waters and secured to an offloading site prior to 6:00 P.M., EDT, Friday, April 5, 2013, may possess and offload no greater than 12,500 pounds of summer flounder during the April 3 – April 5 landing period. <Press Release>
March 26, 2013: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today enacted regulations to achieve a 20 percent reduction in the commercial harvest of menhaden, including a 20 percent reduction in the bay harvest, as part of a comprehensive fisheries management plan that was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly. <Meeting Summary>
March 13, 2013: An ongoing Virginia Marine Police operation to protect a resurgent oyster population has resulted in 500 citations issued to commercial watermen over the past two years for violating oyster catch restrictions. The offenses ranged from harvesting too many oysters, poaching them from sanctuaries, stealing them from privately leased ground, and illegally harvesting them at night. <Press Release>
February 28, 2013: Eligible commercial crab gear licenses under the Commission’s limited entry program have been authorized for 2013. Eligible 2013 crab gear licenses can be purchased at MRC license agents starting tomorrow, Friday, March 1. The 2013 commercial crab pot season begins on March 16th.<MRC
License Agent Locations>
February 26, 2013: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has lowered the recreational flounder size limits for the fourth year in a row, from 16.5 to 16 inches. This allows anglers to keep more of the fish they catch and reduces the flounder size limit to its lowest level in more than a decade, since 2001. <Meeting Summary>
February 13, 2013: The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has awarded Marine Resources Commissioner Jack Travelstead with the prestigious Ricks E Savage Award, which has been bestowed only seven times. The Council was established in 1976, and is responsible for management of fisheries in federal waters off the Mid-Atlantic coast. Council Chairman Rick Robins presented the award on Feb. 13, noting that Commissioner Travelstead’s work on the Council began 32 years ago, not long after the Council was formed. He said the Commissioner has been “a true leader and a diplomat for a generation of fishery managers. He has set a very high standard.”
February 7, 2013: Online registration for the Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) is open. Toll-free, call-in registration is also available. Saltwater anglers who do not need to buy a license under state law must register for free and supply their contact information before they fish every year. Anglers who buy a saltwater fishing license will be automatically registered. The intent is to create a Virginia-wide “phone book” of saltwater anglers, which will be given to the National Marine Fisheries Service in order to improve fishing effort surveys and to exempt Virginia anglers from having to sign up directly with the National Saltwater Angler Registry and pay the annual $15 federal registration fee. Anglers that registered last year must register again this year; registrations are valid for one year from date of issuance. If you provided a valid email when you last registered a renewal notice will be sent 14 days prior to expiration. Please keep your FIP number with you while fishing. The free FIP registration is not a substitute for a license when the angler is required by law to purchase and hold a saltwater license. <FIP Information Page with Online
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