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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

July 31, 2015: Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Friday, July 31, 2015, the commercial directed menhaden Haul Seine fishery will close. Based on landing reports from mandatory harvest reporting and Virginia seafood buyers, it is projected that Virginia will have harvested 100% of the 22,113 pounds of the directed menhaden haul seine quota, by the above date and time. [ Closure Notice ]

July 28, 2015:  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today approved a no-cost, streamlined general permit for construction of living shoreline in order to protect waterfront properties.  This expedited permit option is now available to commercial and residential waterfront property owners.  Living shorelines provide valuable ecological benefits.  In other action, the Commission signaled it will consider potential reductions in wild caught oyster fishery participation in order to prevent overfishing and damage to public oyster stocks that are showing signs of reduced abundance.  [Commission Meeting Summary]

July 22, 2015: 
the Commission will hold a public hearing at the July 28, 2015 Commission Meeting on a proposed general permit regulation to provide a streamlined permitting process for certain living shoreline treatments involving tidal wetlands. The public notice and the draft regulation can be found here: [Habitat Public Notice | Draft Regulation]

June 23, 2015: 
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously today to revoke the fishing licenses and tidal fishing privileges of five commercial waterman for the maximum allowed by current law, two years, for egregious or repeated violations of oyster-catch restrictions, and revoked a sixth waterman’s licenses and fishing privileges for one year. The violations ranged from keeping undersized oysters, harvesting illegally and repeatedly in a closed area or taking them from polluted waterways. In other action, the Commission approved the use of water rakes for the harvest of cultured clams on leased grounds. [Press Release | Commission Meeting Summary]

June 12, 2015:  It is projected that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest quota has been taken. For that reason, it shall be unlawful for any valid horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land more than 250 horseshoe crabs per day, effective 12:00 P.M. (Noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Friday, June 12, 2014.  [Closure Notice]

June 10, 2015: 
Accurate accounting of Trophy Striped Bass caught during the spring season is essential to maintaining this fishery. All trophy permittees are urged to report their trophy striper activity, including a report of no fishing if the permittee was unable to fish this year.  Please review the following trophy striped bass FAQ to see your reporting options.  [Trophy Striped Bass FAQ]

Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the commercial directed menhaden fyke 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 1,950 pounds of the directed menhaden fyke net quota, by Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Therefore, after 6:00 P.M., EDST, Wednesday, June 10, 2015 it shall be unlawful to harvest or land more than 6,000 pounds of menhaden per day, for commercial purposes, by use of fyke net in Virginia, for the remainder of 2015. [Menhaden closure]

June 4, 2015:  A break in a sewage pipe caused a sewage spill into a tributary of the Northwest Branch of Back River in the city of Hampton. Due to potential microbiological pollution hazards, an emergency closure has been established in a portion of the River. A copy of the notice and map of the area is available at this  link [VDH Notice]. The emergency closure is effective June 4 - 25, 2015. The affected area is scheduled to reopen June 25, 2015. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor shellfish and water quality during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner. 

June 3, 2015:
The VMRC Fisheries Newsletter is now available ! Read it here. [Fisheries Newsletter

June 2, 2015: 
New Law Increases Penalties on Oyster Thieves ~ Licenses now can be revoked for up to five years and financial penalties up to $10,000 can be imposed if revocations are ignored.  [Press Release]

June 1, 2015:  Landing limit reduction for the pound net permittees in the 2015 Virginia horseshoe crab fishery effective 12:00 (Noon) Tuesday, June 2, 2015 and closure of the 2015 pound net horseshoe crab fishery effective 12:00 (Noon) Wednesday, June 3, 2015.  [Notice]

May 28, 2015:  Upcoming Free Fishing Days Announced ! June 5, 6, and 7, 2015 have been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters, on these days. [Press Release

May 26, 2015: 
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted today to stay the course in continuing to build blue crab stock abundance, maintaining daily bushel limits and only tinkering with crab sanctuary boundaries. However, the Commission decided to delay until fall a decision on whether to reopen the winter dredge fishery this year, in order for its crab management advisory committee to study how doing so would impact the other blue crab fisheries in this period of relatively low stock abundance.  [Commission Meeting Summary]

the Commission has had reports of the new metal tags being used to mark gill nets this year breaking off.  In some cases, the tags are being zip tied to the PVC flag staff using two of the holes on the tag on the short end of the metal tag – the connection is tight, but wave action apparently is flexing the metal plate until the metal tag breaks off at the corners.  Gill net licensees  should review the advisory at the following web link to see what alternatives they have for tag and license decal attachment.  [Gill Net Tag Advisory]

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VMRC in the News


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