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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

February 25, 2015: Opening of Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery announced effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. [Notice]

February 24, 2015: 
The Commission agreed to extend the winter oyster season by almost two weeks because of snow and ice that have kept harvesters off the water for most of February. In other action the Commission suspended the sale of oyster hand scrape and dredge licenses until further notice in order to keep harvest levels from expanding from increased fishing effort. [Meeting Summary]

February 12, 2015: 
The Commission would like to remind commercial harvesters and buyers that 80 percent of the 51,104 pound commercial landings quota for speckled trout has been taken for the season that began on September 1, 2014 and will extend through August 31, 2015. It is unlawful, for any commercial fisherman registration licensee, to take, harvest, land or possess a daily bycatch limit of more than 100 pounds of speckled trout. That daily bycatch landing limit of speckled trout shall consist of at least an equal amount of other fish species.

January 27, 2015:  The Commission revoked ten commercial watermen’s licenses for their court convictions of harvesting oysters from polluted waters. However, the Commission suspended the revocations of nine of those watermen and put them on probation for a year. Any natural resources violations during that probation period will result in the automatic loss of their licenses for up to two years. In other action the Commission approved $120,000 to build a public fishing pier on the York River in King and Queen County. [Meeting Summary]

January 21, 2015: 
In collaboration with VA Department of Environmental Quality and the Elizabeth River Project, researchers at Duke University are conducting a study to test red drum and speckled trout from the Elizabeth River for PCBs, a cancer-causing chemical found in soil and sediment in the James River Basin. To find out how you can donate red drum to the project and win a Yeti cooler, check out the ERP website here! (Finding PCBs in fish tissue will NOT cause closures of any fisheries, but may cause consumption advisories to be issued.) They are also interested in finding out more about fishing behavior and knowledge of fish consumption advisories for the Elizabeth River watershed. Completing this survey takes about 15 minutes and may help influence how future health advisories are communicated. Follow this link to the survey. For more information on this study, please contact the researchers at

January 9. 2015: 
Recreational Summer Flounder fishing management alternatives for 2015 will be discussed at a public hearing on January 14, 2015 at 6:00 PM at the VMRC Headquarters, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Va. 23607, 4th Floor Commission Hearing Room. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries is leading this hearing to discuss regional management options for 2015 and a coast-wide or conservation equivalency option (FMP status quo). Coast-wide means uniform management across all 9 participating states, whereas conservation equivalency means that states could have the option to form voluntary regions or states could set state-specific regulations to constrain the state’s harvest to the state’s share of the Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL), which is based on the 1998 allocation. This procedure was in place from 1999 through 2013. In 2014 the ASMFC mandated regional management. Information for where to send written comments is included in the attached document. Contact for additional information. [2015 Summer Flounder Recreational Fishing Options]

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VMRC in the News


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