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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 23, 2014:  The Marine Resources Commission today signaled its intent to raise Saltwater Recreational License fees effective January 1, 2015. The fees have not been raised for a number of years, and the increases are needed to preserve important angler programs in the face of impending State budget cuts. Also the Commission revoked the commercial fishing licenses of four watermen, for periods of six months to one year, for egregious violations. [Meeting Summary] [Repeat Offender Press Release]

September 5, 2014: 
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have scheduled a series of scoping hearings to gather public input on the range of issues and information to be considered in the Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment. The Virginia hearing will be held on Tuesday, 10/14/14 at 6PM at the Commission Main Office, 4rth Floor Commission Room.  [Notice]

September 4, 2014:  
New Shellfish training dates announced; the National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines now require training and education programs for all shellfish harvesters and certified dealers. Completion of the training is a pre-requisite for licensing. The intent is to increase the awareness of temperature control and food handling practices for shellfish to minimize growth of Vibrio bacteria. [New Training Dates]

August 28, 2014:  The ASMFC, the Atlantic coastal states and jurisdictions have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.  The Virginia hearing will be on September 22, 2014 at 6PM at the Commission Headquarters in Newport News.  [ASMFC Notice | Draft Addendum for public comment]

August 26, 2014:  The VMRC today only tinkered with next year’s oyster season rules, aiming to continue the amazing success seen in harvests in recent years. The Commission also revoked the licenses of two watermen for stealing from a James River oyster sanctuary and established a control date on which to potentially limit future participation in the oyster fishery.  [Meeting Summary] [2014-2015 Oyster Season Chart]

August 20, 2014: 
The success of the VMRC oyster restoration efforts along with our public and private sector partners, is taking on new dimensions and visibility. Governor McAuliffe announced yesterday the creation of the Virginia Oyster Trail. “Virginia is for Oyster Lovers”. The trail offers visitors a way to enjoy Virginia’s seven different oyster regions, as well as experience the unique culture of watermen in the Chesapeake Bay. Read more here [Virginia Oyster Trail | Press Release]

August 7, 2014:  National Shark Week, August 10-17, 2014.  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s Web site provides a wealth of information on identification of different shark species, including photos and field keys (unique data sets). [Shark Identification Links] [VMRC Shark Regulation] - Virginia regulations pertaining to sharks can be found here, including recreational and commercial fishing limits.  [VIMS Shark Information] - the Virginia Institute Of Marine Science provides material on the three predominant shark species found in Virginia, why sharks are important ecologically, shark research and other topics.  [U.S. National Aquarium Shark Information] - more features and articles on sharks.



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