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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

September 23, 2016:  VDH announced yesterday that due to sewage spills and generalized flooding into Nansemond River in the city of Suffolk, emergency Shellfish Closure # 063-008A “Nansemond River” has been issued effective September 22, 2016 through October 13, 2016. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will be conducting monitoring of seawater and shellfish to determine if the area can safely be opened sooner. [VDH Notice]

August 23, 2016: 
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously to gradually reduce the number of licenses in the public oyster fishery over the next few years by prohibiting new entrants, requiring payment of the annual user fee to maintain eligibility and limiting license transfers only to direct family members or to a non-family member if the license holder can prove 40 days of oyster harvests in the previous season. While the oyster stocks have increased in recent years, the number of harvesters has jumped to more than 1,100 license holders. In other action, the Commission revoked a commercial waterman’s license for five years and imposed a $10,000 civil penalty for fishing commercially while under license revocation. It was the first time the Commission levied a civil penalty and the first time an offender’s license was revoked for the maximum period allowed under a law that went into effect last year. [Meeting Summary  |  Offender News Release]
 

July 26, 2016: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission decided today to hold a public hearing in August to set the 2016-2017 public oyster harvest season and management measures and to consider ways to reduce participation in the public oyster fishery, either immediately or over time. The number of oyster harvesters has grown substantially in recent years and the stocks cannot continue to support this increased fishing pressure. In other action, the Commission revoked the licenses of two watermen for egregious violations of natural resource conservation regulations.  [Meeting Summary]

July 21, 2016: 
Dr. Robert J. Orth of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science produced a video about Seagrass. Dr. Orth's research focuses on the biology and ecology of seagrasses, principally in the Chesapeake Bay. [View it here]

July 19, 2016:  Governor McAuliffe Celebrates Improving Water Quality and Land Conservation [Notice]

July 19, 2016:  The Lynnhaven River Oyster Work Group is scheduled to meet on July 15 at the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia beginning at 9:30 AM and ending at 12:00 noon. The Brock Environmental Center is located at 3663 Marlin Bay Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23455. The meeting is open to the public.

The Group will meet again on July 29, 2016 at the Virginia Beach Tidewater Community College campus in the Student Center, Room K-304, from 9 AM until approximately 2:00 PM. The Student Center is located at the campus at 1700 College Crescent, Virginia Beach, VA 23453. Parking for this meeting will be available behind the Virginia Beach Building (G). The meeting is open to the public.

July 11, 2016:  The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) will hold a public hearing/scoping meeting related to cobia on August 9, 2016 at 6:00 PM at the Hilton Virginia Beach, 3001 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. The SAFMC will also be sponsoring additional meetings and webinars between August 1 and August 17 to collect public input on proposed management measures for several species managed by the Council. For details on meeting locations, webinar registration, amendment documents/presentations, and instructions on how to submit written comments, visit the Council's website. [SAFMC Meeting Notice]

July 8, 2016: 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is increasing the retention limit for the commercial aggregated large coastal shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 3 to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip as of July 15, 2016. This adjustment is intended to promote equitable fishing opportunities in the Atlantic region, while allowing majority of quota to be harvested later in the year. All other retention limits and shark fisheries remain unchanged in the Atlantic region. [NMFS Notice]

July 1, 2016: 
Effective 7/1/16, the Commission's recreational 5 crab pot license, has been replaced by two new licenses, a $36 recreational 5 crab pot license that requires use of a terrapin excluder device, and a $46 recreational 5 crab pot license that does not require an excluder. Recreational crab potters should visit the following link to learn more about the new licenses and the efforts to conserve terrapins by installing excluder devices. [New 5 Crab Pot Licenses Effective 7/1/16]


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VMRC in the News


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