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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 21, 2017:  Due to the release of an unknown amount of diesel fuel leaking from a sunken vessel, Emergency Shellfish Closure # 046-081 “Perrin River” in Gloucester County has been issued effective February 21, 2017 through March 7, 2017. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will be conducting monitoring of seawater and shellfish to determine if the area can safely be opened sooner. Details may be found through a link available on the Division’s home page.

February 15, 2017:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission is accepting nominations to fill a vacancy on the Virginia Recreational Fishing Advisory Board (RFAB) for a three-year term. All members are given the opportunity to continue serving additional three-year terms at the pleasure of the Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. We hope to receive recommendations for members from Virginia Beach and Southside areas or the Eastern Shore. Please submit nominations to Alicia Nelson ( by February 27, 2017 – the nomination request is attached. [Notice]

January 26, 2017: Please click on the link to see an announcement from the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding a closure of recreational cobia fishing in federal waters. [NMFS Notice]

January 24, 2017: The Commission today presented a plaque to oyster Conservation and Replenishment Officer Dr. Jim Wesson and thanked him for 25 years of service to the Commonwealth and the agency. Dr. Wesson is retiring and has been the architect of the recent years’ success in oyster restoration. Over the past decade, the oyster harvest has grown from 24,000 bushels in 2004 to 619,000 bushels last year. In other action, the Commission revoked the license and tidal fishing privileges of a commercial waterman for one year for participating in harvest activities while under license revocation for previous violations. [Meeting Summary]

January 3, 2017:
The agency has reconfigured the boundaries of the oyster sanctuaries in the Rappahannock River by the Norris bridge. The new boundaries give watermen a substantial transit area of roughly three-quarters of a mile when going past the bridge in the mainstem of the river. This is being done so no one will inadvertently risk crossing the sanctuaries with dredge gear when going to or from designated harvest areas. Here is a new map of the area. [Sanctuary Boundary Map]

December 27, 2016: States Seek Input on 2017 Recreational Summer Flounder Fishery Management. [ASMFC Notice]

December 21, 2016: NOAA Fisheries Announces Revised Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Catch Limits. [NOAA Notice]

December 21, 2016: Mid-Atlantic Council Initiates Action in Response to Overage of Black Sea Bass Catch Limit. [MAFMC Press Release]

December 21, 2016: A Holidays notice regarding oysters from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. [Press Release]

December 13, 2016: The Commission board today voted unanimously to raise commercial harvest license and gear use fees for the first time in 12 years. This was done to preserve core agency services in the face of a 7.5 percent budget cut. The increases will take effect in December of 2017. The increases were capped at either $5 or the rate of inflation since the last time a particular gear fee was established or raised. Some gear fees had not been increased since the 1990s and a few had remained unchanged since 1979. In other action, the board voted to require recreational anglers to file catch reports in 2017 for Cobia, Grouper, Tilefish and Striped Bass during the spring trophy fishery, in an effort to improve catch and effort data to benefit those fisheries. [Meeting Summary]

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VMRC in the News

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