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Commissioner, Steven G. Bowman

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

March 13, 2019:  BLUE CRAB SEASON OPENING INFORMATION:  Although blue crab season starts on March 17th, we are reminding people that per regulation, you cannot set pots on Sunday. The earliest pots can be set this season is 6:00 am, March 18th.

February 27, 2019: 
Pursuant to action by the General Assembly during the 2019 session Senate Bill # 1413 was approved by the Assembly and signed by the Governor on February 27, 2019. The bill contained an emergency clause making it effective upon signature of the Governor. The new law changes application fees for both new oyster planting ground applications and for the transfer of existing oyster planting ground leases. The new fees are now in effect. To obtain a list of the new fee structure click the following link.  [New Lease Application Fees]

Virginia Marine Resources Commission Staff will host an open meeting to accept comments regarding the development of a regulation to establish and implement a fast-track permitting program, and permit application requirements, in order to authorize the selection and use of appropriate sites for disposal of dredge material on State-owned submerged lands for projects in Tidewater Virginia. The regulation is being developed pursuant to Acts of Assembly 2018 Chapter 449. The meeting will be held on March 12, 2019, at 2:00 pm in the Commission Meeting Room at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Office located at 380 Fenwick Road, Building 96, Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. For comments or inquires contact Tony Watkinson, Chief, Habitat Management Division at 757-247-2250 or

February 26, 2019: 
The Commission met today and approved a wetlands project for Virginia Electric and Power Company, denied two oyster ground leases, and approved public hearings for several fishery items. Also of note, the Commission approved the Oyster Replenishment and Restoration Plan for 2019. MRC will disperse 587,000 bushels of shell over 587 acres and will supplement shell planting with 18,000 tons of alternative substrate over 72 acres. Click on the following link to see the results of today's Commission Meeting.  [Meeting Summary]

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission also voted to approve the 2019 period one opening for the Virginia offshore summer flounder fishery. The landing limit for the offshore (EEZ) fishery from March 1 through April 19, 2019 is 10,000 pounds. [Notice]

February 26, 2019: Virginia Department of Health has issued an emergency closure of James River shellfishing, effective February 26th through March 7th, 2019. [Notice]

January 31, 2019:  Attention Virginia Black Sea Bass Anglers, the 2019 February recreational black sea bass fishing season will start February 1st and end on February 28th 2019. We want to remind all anglers that a recreational black sea bass permit is required ONLY for the captain or operator of the vessel and that it is their responsibility to report all black sea bass caught or released during the 2019 February recreational black sea bass season. Click on the notice link for more details on the 2019 black sea bass season. [Notice]

January 29, 2019:
   the Commission's new main office at 380 Fenwick Road, Bldg. 96, Fort Monroe, VA 23651 is officially open as of Tuesday, 1/29/19.  [Map to New Office]

Click here for the news archive

VMRC in the News

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