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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

May 26, 2015:  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted today to stay the course in continuing to build blue crab stock abundance, maintaining daily bushel limits and only tinkering with crab sanctuary boundaries. However, the Commission decided to delay until fall a decision on whether to reopen the winter dredge fishery this year, in order for its crab management advisory committee to study how doing so would impact the other blue crab fisheries in this period of relatively low stock abundance.  [Commission Meeting Summary]

May 25, 2015: 
Upcoming Free Fishing Days Announced ! June 5, 6, and 7, 2015 have been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters, on these days. [Press Release

the Commission has had reports of the new metal tags being used to mark gill nets this year breaking off.  In some cases, the tags are being zip tied to the PVC flag staff using two of the holes on the tag on the short end of the metal tag – the connection is tight, but wave action apparently is flexing the metal plate until the metal tag breaks off at the corners.  Gill net licensees  should review the advisory at the following web link to see what alternatives they have for tag and license decal attachment.  [Gill Net Tag Advisory]

April 30, 2015:  Horseshoe crab closure announced:  it shall be unlawful for any valid horseshoe crab commercial general category permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 125 per day effective Sunset, Thursday, April 30, 2015. After Sunset, May 3, 2015, the possession or landing of any horseshoe crabs in Virginia by gears other than trawl, dredge, pound net, or by hand shall be prohibited (Chapter 4 VAC 20-900-10 et seq.).  [Closure Notice]

April 28, 2015:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today was briefed on a moderate increase in blue crab abundance in the Chesapeake Bay and agreed to hold a public hearing and vote in May on possible adjustments to the crab sanctuary boundaries and modifications to the peeler crab season. The stock has improved overall, but spawning-age females are not as high as they should be. In other action, the Commission revoked for two years the Virginia fishing licenses held by a Maryland resident who was caught illegally catching oysters in Virginia’s waters, and banned another waterman from the striped bass fishery for two years for egregious misuse of striped bass tags. [Meeting Summary]

April 27, 2015 ANNUAL WINTER DREDGE SURVEY - VMRC, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission jointly released today the results of the 2015 blue crab winter dredge survey which showed moderate improvement in the health of the stock, despite a cold winter that killed an inordinately large number of crabs. The survey is conducted annually by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. [ Press Release ]

April 23, 2015, A 606-pound bluefin tuna, caught on April 6, 2015 by Chase Robinson, of Virginia Beach, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Robinson’s catch surpasses the existing record of 573-pounds, caught in June of 2007 by Frederick “Bo” Haycox of Virginia Beach. [Press Release]

April 17, 2015, Attention: Commercial and For-Hire Recreational Fishing industries: the State of Virginia is working on a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) funded project to develop site specific BMPs for the VA Wind Energy Area (WEA) and a Communication Strategy targeted to the Commercial and For-Hire Recreational Fishing industries to inform them of engagement opportunities and information relative to the VA WEA. We are seeking your participation in the upcoming April 21rst meeting from 6:30-7:30 PM at the VB Aquarium and Marine Science Center. This meeting is intended for the Commercial and Charter Fishing Industries only, focused efforts for the general recreational communities will commence in upcoming meetings.  If you have any questions about this meeting or project please contact Todd V. Janeski at or 804.828.5258. [More on Offshore Wind Energy Fisheries Planning]

April 16, 2015: 
Accurate accounting of Trophy Striped Bass caught during the spring season is essential to maintaining this fishery. To this end, striped bass rules adopted in December 2014 require Virginia recreational saltwater fishermen participating in the Spring Trophy Season (May 1 – May 15 coastal and May 1- June 15 Bay and tribs; minimum size limit 36 inches) to obtain a no-cost permit. The permit is only required for trophy striped bass fishermen 16 or older and not fishing on a legally licensed headboat or charter boat. The new no-cost trophy permit can be obtained at VMRC license agents or can also be obtained by the fisherman directly via a new online process: [New Online No-Cost Permit Process] [VMRC License Agent Locations]. Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay and tributaries spring slot limit season opens May 16 and runs through June 15. During this period recreational anglers can keep two striped bass between 20 and 28 inches. However, anglers possessing a Trophy Striped Bass Permit may keep one trophy-sized striped bass (36 inches or greater) as one of their two-fish possession limit. [Striper Regulation Summary Card]

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VMRC in the News


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