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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

April 23, 2014:  The Commission voted unanimously to revoke all fishing licenses of a commercial waterman for a period of two years from the date of his conviction for illegally harvesting oysters from an oyster sanctuary area in the James River.  Oyster sanctuaries serve to protect brood stock that are critical to the continued recovery of oyster populations.  The Commission also voted unanimously to establish the 2014 recreational season for black sea bass as May 19 through September 18 and October 18 through December 31 and a possession limit of 15 fish.  The minimum size remains at 12.5 inches total length. <Meeting Summary>

April 14, 2014:  Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Tuesday, April 15, 2014, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will close. Vessels that have entered Virginia waters and secured to an offloading site prior to 6:00 P.M., EDT, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, may possess and offload up to 5,000 pounds of summer flounder, minus any previous landings since April 1, 2014.  Based upon landing reports from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Virginia seafood buyers and VMRC Law Enforcement, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 85% of the First Period Offshore Quota of 1,411,960 pounds of Summer Flounder by the above date and time. <Notice>

April 4, 2014:  Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Monday, April 7, 2014, the commercial menhaden gill net fishery will be closed.  Based on landing reports from mandatory harvest reporting and Virginia seafood buyers, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 100% of the 1,521,108 pounds of the menhaden gill net quota, by Monday, April 7, 2014.  Therefore, after 6:00 P.M., EDST, April 7, 2014 it shall be unlawful for any person to harvest or land more than 6,000 pounds of menhaden per day, for commercial purposes, by use of gill net in Virginia, for the remainder of 2014. <Notice>

March 25, 2014:  After a contentious 4-hour public hearing, the Commission unanimously voted to deny authorization for a T-head or any slips at a pier proposed for the Rappahannock Cliffs subdivision located in Richmond County, approximately 10 miles upstream of the Town of Tappahannock, along a pristine section of the Rappahannock River known as Fones Cliff. The Commission also voted to close the recreational speckled trout through July and established a lower creel limit of 5 fish per angler and adopted other measures for the commercial fishery in response to the cold stun mortality experienced during this winter’s sudden polar vortex temperature drop.  The measures are intended to protect surviving fish and allow them to spawn and improve the stock. <Meeting Summary>

March 25, 2014:  Mid-Atlantic Council Hosts Workshop on East Coast Fisheries and Climate Change.  Last week the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council convened more than 70 fishery managers, scientists, policy makers, and other stakeholders in Washington, D.C. for a workshop on East Coast Climate Change and Fisheries Governance. The three-day event offered participants a platform to examine the flexibility of the existing fisheries management framework to address potential governance and management challenges that could arise as a result of climate change. <Press Release> <Workshop Information>

March 20, 2014:
  Virginia saltwater anglers topped 6000 Citations for the second year in a row.  Anglers registered 6,167 trophy-size fish for Citation awards during the 56th Annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament that ran from January 1st through December 31st 2013.  This was the ninth time anglers had achieved 6,000 or more Citations in any year since the Tournament began in 1958 and the most since 2007. [Press Release | Tournament Information]

February 28, 2014:  Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the appointment of John M.R. Bull as Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.  John Bull has been with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission since June 2007 and has been serving as Acting Commissioner since January 2014. In his career at the agency, he has been Director of Public Relations and Legislative Liaison and has worked closely with the agency’s many and varied constituent groups, the news media and the Virginia General Assembly and has been involved in all aspects of agency operations. Before joining the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter at eight different newspapers over the span of 23 years, most recently as an investigative reporter and Virginia General Assembly reporter for the Newport News Daily Press.  He is a journalism graduate of Penn State University.

February 26, 2014: 
NOAA Fisheries Service has announced the commercial quota and recreational harvest limits, for summer flounder, effective January 1, 2014. The coastwide summer flounder total allowable landings (TAL) are 19.07 million pounds.  The commercial summer flounder quota allotment is 11.73 million pounds. Virginia’s commercial quota, after subtracting the research set-aside amount, is 2,427,783 pounds. Virginia’s commercial summer flounder quota will be distributed, as described in Chapter 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Summer Flounder," in the following notice: <Notice>

February 26, 2014:   The Commission ordered a sunken barge that has plagued the Town of Urbanna for almost two years removed by the owner within 31 days or he’ll face court enforcement action from the Office of Attorney General, which could include fines of up to $10,000 a day for non-compliance with the Commission’s orders.  Also, the recreational speckled trout fishery was closed as of March 1 in an emergency action to protect the stock in the wake of abnormal levels of cold-stuns and cold-kills due to the three-week polar vortex earlier this month.  This stock conservation action was taken at the request of a large number of recreational speckled trout anglers. <Meeting Summary>

February 19, 2014:  The Recreational Fishing Advisory Board will be combining its two spring meetings, originally scheduled for March 10th and May 12th, into a single meeting to be held on March 10th; decisions on first cycle project proposals will be made at the meeting.  <Meeting Notice>

February
11, 2014:  A special meeting of the Tournament Committee of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament will be held Tuesday, February 18th at 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, 7 PM, in the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s meeting room, located on the fourth floor of the building.  The meeting was scheduled in response to a significant number of requests for the Committee to reconsider their decision, made during their annual meeting in November 2013, to eliminate the multiple tiers of the Master Angler Program as originally designed.  The multiple tier design was modeled after a similar and popular program run by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. <Notice>

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