Agency News

September 11, 2019:  Emergency Closure # 210J for portions of the Lynnhaven River, the lower James River and Back River and their tributaries has been RESCINDED effective Thursday September 12, 2019. All shellfish harvesting waters will return to their prior classification with the exception of the Conditionally Approved waters in the Nansemond River, Lynnhaven River and Linkhorn Bay.  Click here for the status of Conditional Shellfish Harvesting waters. [VDH Notice]

August 29, 2019: A 466-pound swordfish, caught on August 16, 2019 by Tony Gower Jr. of Virginia Beach, VA, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Director of Virginia's Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Gower's catch surpassed the existing record of 446-pounds, caught in October 2012, by Joseph T. Harris, of Virginia Beach. [Press Release]

August 29, 2019: DRAFT ADDENDUM VI TO AMENDMENT 6 TO THE INTERSTATE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS -- VMRC will host the ASMFC public hearing at 6:30pm, Monday September 9, 2019 at their Fort Monroe Headquarters. Draft Addendum VI was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Draft Addendum explores a range of management alternatives designed to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2020. [ ASMFC Notice | Draft Addendum VI

DRAFT ADDENDUM VI TO THE SPINY DOGFISH INTERSTATE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN is available for public comment. The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding this document during the public comment period. Comments will be accepted by ASMFC until 5:00 p.m. EST on September 23, 2019.  [ ASMFC NoticeDraft Addendum VI ]

August 27, 2019:
The Commission unanimously approved the staff recommendation to adopt the emergency amendments described in sections of Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass," to lower the recreational possession limit in the Chesapeake Bay area and establish commercial maximum mesh size requirements in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal areas. Staff also recommends this emergency amendment be part of a September public hearing to incorporate the amendments as part of the permanent regulation. Public oyster harvest seasons were also set for 2019-20.  See the meeting summary for other results of the Commission's monthly meeting.  [Meeting Summary 2019-20 Oyster Seasons]

August 16, 2019: 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has increased the retention limit for the commercial aggregated large coastal shark and hammerhead shark management groups (Appendix 1) for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 36 to 45 sharks per vessel per trip effective August 16, 2019.  Per Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 ET SEQ. "Pertaining to Sharks" state possession limits mirror these new federal possession limits. [NOAA Notice  |   VA Commercial Shark Possession Limits]



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Commissioner’s Message

Picture of Steven G. Bowman, Commissioner

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.

Steven G. Bowman, Commissioner, VMRC

Important Links

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Fisherman Identification Program
VMRC Regulations
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Anglers Guide