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
November 27, 2013: Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST), Wednesday, November 27, 2013, the commercial purse seine menhaden reduction sector will close. Based on Captain's Daily Fishing reports , it is projected that Virginia will have caught 100% of the 286,396,768 pounds of allowable menhaden landings allocated to the purse seine menhaden reduction sector, by the above date and time. See attached memorandum for further information. <Memorandum>
November 27, 2013: Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST), Wednesday, December 4, 2013, it is projected that the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will have harvested 100% of the quota. Therefore, after 6:00 P.M., EST, Wednesday, December 4, 2013, it shall be unlawful for any person harvesting Summer Flounder outside of Virginia’s waters to land flounder in Virginia. Please refer to the notice for more information and requirements. <Notice>
November 18, 2013: Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Virginia’s most recent oyster harvest has greatly exceeded recent years, reaching the highest level since 1987. The 2012-2013 harvest of 406,000 bushels was also 60 percent greater than just one year prior. The harvest boom came from both wild-caught oysters and from dramatically increased yields in oyster aquaculture operations on privately leased water bottoms. <Press Release>
November 18, 2013: The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission releases its Draft Strategic Plan for 2014 – 2018 for public review
and comment. The Draft Plan revises the Commission’s long-term vision to
“Sustainably Managing Atlantic Coastal Fisheries” and proposes seven major
goals and related strategies to pursue this vision. The Strategic Plan
will guide the Commission’s activities over the next five years and will be
implemented through Annual Action Plans.
Public comment must be received by January 10, 2014, 5:00 PM EST and should be forwarded to Deke Tompkins, Legislative Assistant, at 1050 N. Highland, Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703-842-0741 (fax) or email@example.com (Subject line: Strategic Plan). The Commission is scheduled to take action on the final Plan in February at its Winter Meeting in Alexandria, VA. <Draft Strategic Plan>
November 12, 2013: Governor Bob McDonnell has appointed James Close of Mathews to the board of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Mr. Close is a commercial waterman, and will hold the seat designated to represent commercial watermen. He will serve a four-year term. He replaces former Associate Commissioner Joseph Palmer, who passed away in July.
October 30, 2013: Virginia Marine Resources Commission Associate Commissioner Ken Neill has received the prestigious 2014 International Game Fish Association Representative Conservation Award for this many years of contributions to tagging studies and sample collection efforts. Of the dozens of scientific projects he has assisted aboard his boat, Healthy Grin, Dr. Neill says some of the most rewarding are the ones that led directly to fishery management decisions, such as Atlantic Bluefin Tuna tissue sampling and tagging that helped scientists better understand the relationships between the western and eastern stocks of that species. Since 1993, the IGFA has been recognizing superlative achievements in fishing conservation with annual conservation awards. Dr. Neill was appointed to the Commission in July 2013 by Governor Bob McDonnell. <International Game Fish Association>
October 22, 2013: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously today against a proposal to reopen the blue crab winter dredge fishery in a limited, tightly controlled pilot program that would not have increased the overall crab harvest. The Commission sited low stock abundance, an anemic crab harvest so far this year, and opposition from the public and from commercial crab potters as factors in their decision to shelve the proposal for the time being. The Commission did vote unanimously to extend this year’s crab pot season until Dec. 15, for the harvest of both male and female crabs, with a reduction in the daily bushel limit next
year to off-set the increased fall harvest. <Meeting
October 21, 2013: Effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, November 11, 2013, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will re-open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. The 2013 commercial offshore quota allocation was 2,438,592 pounds. Virginia landings through October 16 total 1,946,208 pounds. The available remaining offshore summer flounder quota is projected to be 650,000 pounds. Please review the Opening Notice for more information.
October 17, 2013: A 311-pound bigeye tuna, caught on September 25th by Vic Gaspeny, of Tavernier, FL, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Gaspeny’s catch surpasses the existing record of 285 pounds and 12 ounces, caught 10 years earlier in August 2003 by Melvin Bray of Dumfries, VA. Gaspeny made his record-setting catch off Virginia Beach, at the Norfolk Canyon, while fishing with Captain Justin Wilson aboard the charter vessel Just Right. Gaspeny, a well respected light tackle fishing guide and outdoor writer, operates out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, FL, where he is best known for his ability to put clients on tarpon. Gaspeny also helped pioneer “day dropping” for swordfish off the Florida coast and in the process caught his 200th swordfish last July. <Press Release>
September 26, 2013: The Virginia Marine Police will combat oyster theft by air, land and sea in an intensive effort to crush what has become an epidemic of poaching. The public oyster season opens tomorrow, Oct. 1. The Commission comes armed to this fight with a renewed commitment to revoking violators’ commercial fishing licenses and with a new tool: Revocation of all saltwater fishing privileges, as allowed by a new state law that went into effect on July 1. The Commission recently adopted new sanction guidelines that call for the revocation of commercial fishing licenses for even a single egregious offense. This is a tougher standard from prior guidelines, which called for a license suspension hearing on a third court conviction of fishery regulations within a calendar year. <Press Release> <New Sanction Guidelines> <Law Enforcement Subcommittee Report>
September 26, 2013: This memorandum is to inform states that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will close
the blacknose, non-blacknose small coastal shark, large coastal shark and hammerhead shark fisheries on September 30, 2013. Therefore, in accordance with Section 4.3.4, Quota Specification, of the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks (FMP), effective 11:30 p.m. local time September 30, 2013, states are required to prohibit the commercial landing, harvest, and possession of these shark species. State water commercial fisheries for these shark species will reopen when the NMFS reopens federal waters for commercial fishing. ASMFC will issue notice of the opening dates once they become available in the 2014 shark quotas and seasons final rule. <Memorandum>