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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

June 16, 2017: Governor McAuliffe has appointed Heather Lusk of Quinby on the Eastern Shore to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission board. Mrs. Lusk is the vice president of HM Terry Co. Inc., a large, century-old oyster and clam operation on the Eastern Shore. She is a Virginia Tech graduate with a law degree from Michigan State.

June 15, 2017:  VDH DSS announces conditional waters in Nansemond River will remain in CLOSED status following yesterday’s rains. Nansemond River Conditional Area C1 is now set to reopen on Sunday June 25, 2017.  [VDH Notices for Conditional Shellfish Harvest Areas]

June 12, 2017: 
Effective Noon, Monday, June 12, 2017, the Virginia horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest fishery will close.  [Notice]

June 7, 2017:
The Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation, will be holding a public meeting to discuss new Seasonal Condemnation closures in tributaries along the southern shore of the Potomac. This meeting will be held this Friday (June 9th) at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Newton Branch located at 22 Coles Point Rd in Hague at 1:30 in the afternoon.

June 6, 2017:
Effective for Tuesday June 6, 2017 through Thursday June 15, 2017, Conditional Area C1 in Lynnhaven River and Nansemond River Conditional Area C1 are CLOSED to the harvest of oysters, clams and mussels. Both areas are currently set to reopen on Friday June 16, 2017. For most timely notifications related to these areas, harvesters should contact Daniel Powell or Eric Aschenbach at VDH ((804-864-7480;; to subscribe to their text/email alert system. [VDH Notices for Conditional Shellfish Harvest Areas]

June 1, 2017: 
Effective Sunset, Friday, June 2, 2017, the Virginia horseshoe crab commercial dredge gear fishery will close. [Notice]

May 31, 2017: 
2017 Recreational Cobia Fishing Information

The 2017 recreational cobia season will be open from June 1st through September 15th. The minimum size is 40 inches, total length (tip to tail). The possession limit is one per person, but there will be a 3-fish vessel limit when three or more anglers are on board, and only one of those may be over 50 inches, total length. Gaffing remains prohibited for recreational cobia fishing.

Anyone fishing recreationally for cobia in Virginia’s waters must be properly permitted. When fishing from a private or for-hire vessel, only the captain needs to have the permit, and everyone on board will be covered under that permit. For those fishing from shore, a pier, or a single-person kayak, each angler must be individually permitted.

All cobia caught recreationally, whether kept or released, must be reported through the Virginia Saltwater Journal website (, or using paper forms provided by the VMRC. Captains of private or for-hire vessels will report for everyone on board. If cobia are caught on a trip (kept or released), that trip must be reported within 7 days of the trip occurring. If no cobia are caught on a trip, that trip must be reported by 15 days after the season’s closing. If a permitted angler does not take any cobia trips in 2017, a report of "no activity" must be submitted to the VMRC by 15 days after the season’s closing. For more on reporting see our Recreational Harvest Reporting FAQ.

Permits are free and can be obtained online at by clicking the "Rec Species Permits" link under the "Recreational Fishing" picture. They can also be obtained in-person at any MRC Licensing Agent. Please visit to see a list of agents and their locations.

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VMRC in the News

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