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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

September 12, 2017:  Effective 6 P.M., Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the Virginia horseshoe crab commercial pound net fishery will close. [Notice]

September 6, 2017: 
Effective Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at 6:00 P.M., Horseshoe Crab Pound Net Permittees will be limited to possess aboard any vessel or land more than 250 horseshoe crabs per day. [Notice]

August 23, 2017:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission board today unanimously approved the 2017-18 oyster season management plan. Among the changes are 1) a five day work week, up from four 2) a reduced vessel bushel limit from 24 to 16 bushels 3) the opening of additional oyster rocks for harvest, and 4) staggered opening of public grounds to ensure that multiple harvest areas are open concurrently throughout the established season. See following web link for a chart of the areas, gear types and dates. [Oyster Harvest Area Openings | Meeting Summary]

August 10, 2017:
VDH and VIMs have worked together to provide occupational health factsheet aimed at raising awareness of algal blooms and their potential health effects for those working on Virginia’s waters. Please follow the links to learn more. [Factsheet | VDH HABS Website]

July 25, 2017:
The Commission board voted unanimously today to rescind an increase in commercial license fees that was scheduled for December. The fees have not increased in at least 12 years. In other action, the board agreed to reconsider the sanctions levied against individuals whose licenses are revoked as of July 25, 2017 due to court convictions for egregious natural resources violations. The board may, or may not, reduce the punishment but is willing to hear from these offenders at future board meetings if they put their reconsideration request in writing to the Commissioner. The board also set the crab season and bushel limits for this fall and next spring. [Meeting Summary]

July 25, 2017:  The U.S. Coast Guard today honored Virginia Marine Master Police Officer Richard W. Pruitt of Tangier for his “vital assistance” in the investigation of the sinking of a commercial fishing vessel in April, which resulted in the death of a Tangier Island waterman and the rescue of his son. [Press Release]

July 14, 2017: 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is increasing the retention limit for the commercial aggregated large coastal shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 3 to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip as of July 16, 2017. [NMFS Notice]

July 13, 2017:  A 58-pound golden tilefish, caught on June 27, 2017 by Joshua Jung of Virginia Beach, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record for the species by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. The record-setting tilefish measured 47.5 inches (TL) and the roe-laden female sported a 32-1/4-inch girth. [Press Release]

July 7, 2017: 
The Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation, is more actively monitoring and announcing openings and closures for selected conditional shellfish harvest areas.  For the most timely notifications related to these areas, harvesters should contact Daniel Powell or Eric Aschenbach at VDH ((804-864-7480;; to subscribe to their text/email alert system or use the following VDH web site that also posts the notifications.  [VDH Notices for Conditional Shellfish Harvest Areas]

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VMRC in the News

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