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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 5, 2014:  The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have scheduled a series of scoping hearings to gather public input on the range of issues and information to be considered in the Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment. The Virginia hearing will be held on Tuesday, 10/14/14 at 6PM at the Commission Main Office, 4rth Floor Commission Room.  [Notice]

September 4, 2014:  
New Shellfish training dates announced; the National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines now require training and education programs for all shellfish harvesters and certified dealers. Completion of the training is a pre-requisite for licensing. The intent is to increase the awareness of temperature control and food handling practices for shellfish to minimize growth of Vibrio bacteria. [New Training Dates]

August 28, 2014:  The ASMFC, the Atlantic coastal states and jurisdictions have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.  The Virginia hearing will be on September 22, 2014 at 6PM at the Commission Headquarters in Newport News.  [ASMFC Notice | Draft Addendum for public comment]

August 26, 2014:  The VMRC today only tinkered with next year’s oyster season rules, aiming to continue the amazing success seen in harvests in recent years. The Commission also revoked the licenses of two watermen for stealing from a James River oyster sanctuary and established a control date on which to potentially limit future participation in the oyster fishery.  [Meeting Summary] [2014-2015 Oyster Season Chart]

August 20, 2014: 
The success of the VMRC oyster restoration efforts along with our public and private sector partners, is taking on new dimensions and visibility. Governor McAuliffe announced yesterday the creation of the Virginia Oyster Trail. “Virginia is for Oyster Lovers”. The trail offers visitors a way to enjoy Virginia’s seven different oyster regions, as well as experience the unique culture of watermen in the Chesapeake Bay. Read more here [Virginia Oyster Trail | Press Release]

August 7, 2014:  National Shark Week, August 10-17, 2014.  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s Web site provides a wealth of information on identification of different shark species, including photos and field keys (unique data sets). [Shark Identification Links] [VMRC Shark Regulation] - Virginia regulations pertaining to sharks can be found here, including recreational and commercial fishing limits.  [VIMS Shark Information] - the Virginia Institute Of Marine Science provides material on the three predominant shark species found in Virginia, why sharks are important ecologically, shark research and other topics.  [U.S. National Aquarium Shark Information] - more features and articles on sharks.

July 29, 2014:
The Virginia recreational and commercial hook-and-line speckled trout fisheries reopen on August 1, 2014. Beginning August 1, it will be legal for any person fishing commercially, with commercial hook and line gear, or recreationally, with any gear type, to possess up to 5 speckled trout, in any one day. These seasons have been closed from March 1 through July 31, 2014, as a response to conserve the stock that suffered large mortality rates this past winter from cold stun events.  In addition to the 5-fish possession limit, there is a 14 inch minimum size limit. Of the 5-fish possession limit, only one speckled trout, 24 inches or greater, can be possessed, in any one day, for persons fishing with commercial hook and line gear, or fishing recreationally with any gear type.

July 22, 2014: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today unanimously revoked the commercial fishing licenses of four watermen who were convicted in court of egregious or repeated violations of the fishing laws. The license revocations were for two years, the most allowed under the Code of Virginia. In doing so, the Commission signaled it has no tolerance for watermen who flaunt the fishing laws. One of the violations that resulted in a license revocation was especially offensive: running an illegal, un-inspected oyster shucking operation and harvesting oysters despite having a license that was revoked last year by the Commission. [Meeting Summary] [Press Release]

July 21, 2014: 
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia’s oyster harvest jumped another 25 percent last year, surging past 500,000 bushels, the most in nearly a generation. [Press Release]

July 16, 2014: 
Shellfish training dates announced; the National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines now require training and education programs for all shellfish harvesters and certified dealers. This training program is currently being implemented in Virginia and is now required for all 2015 shellfish permits and licenses with Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Division of Shellfish Sanitation (DSS). The training is free and will be required every two years in Virginia. Completion of the training is a pre-requisite for licensing. The intent is to increase the awareness of temperature control and food handling practices for shellfish to minimize growth of Vibrio bacteria. [Notice]


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