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Commissioner, Steven G. Bowman

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

March 2018

March 23, 2018: The State will be transitioning to a new email system over the weekend. Our employee State email addresses have not changed. If you are corresponding with any Commission employee via email between 6PM Friday and the end of next week , please be aware that email delivery could be delayed, and if important be sure to verify with your intended recipient that your email has been properly received. Likewise if you are expecting email from one of our employees feel free to contact the employee by phone to check the status of an email. Our staff directory has employee phone numbers. [Staff Directory]

March 16, 2018:
Results of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Hearing held today have been posted. [Meeting Summary]

February 2018

February 27, 2018: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission Board today declined to curtail recreational speckled trout season or catch limits and decided not to further extend the oyster season. Unseasonably cold temperatures in early January resulted in some mortality in the speckled trout stocks and iced in oyster harvesters for a time, but the board noted the lack of science to show whether management changes would have any impact on the stocks and pointed out the oyster season already was extended in five hand scrape areas for seven work days earlier this month to compensate for reduced weather-related harvests.  [Meeting Summary]

February 26, 2018:
Attention all Interested Parties: At the request of the National Park Service, the Dyke Marsh proposal will NOT be heard by the Commission board at its Feb. 27, 2018 meeting. This matter will not be addressed at this month’s meeting. It will be rescheduled for the Commission’s March 27, 2018 meeting. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

February 22, 2018:  NOAA has announced changes to the Federal Reporting System for For-Hire Fisheries. Starting March 12, 2018, vessels issued a federal charter/party permit for a Mid-Atlantic managed fishery will be required to submit electronic vessel trip reports for all trips carrying passengers for hire. [Notice NOAA Web Site]

February 16, 2018:  The Commission's Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament announced today that there will be no changes in citation rules or citation requirements for 2018.  [Press Release]

February 15, 2018:  Effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, Thursday March 1, 2018, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. [Notice]

January 2018

January 31, 2018:  NOAA Fisheries announced today that a voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area - DMA) has been established 54 nautical miles east-southeast of Virginia beach, Virginia (see map in NMFS Notice) to protect an aggregation of 3 right whales sighted in this area on January 26, 2018. [NMFS Notice]

NOAA Fisheries also announced a February recreational season in 2018 for the black sea bass fishery. The current black sea bass recreational management measures of a 12.5-inch minimum size and 15-fish possession limit apply during the February 1-28 federal season. Federal measures for the rest of the 2018 recreational black sea bass fishery will be developed through a separate action to be implemented later this spring. [NMFS Notice]

January 25, 2018: The Finfish Management Advisory Committee will meet at the VMRC Main Office on the 4rth Floor on February 12 at 6 pm to discuss cold stun events and impacts on Virginia finfish species. The discussion will not be limited to speckled trout, but that is the key species affected by this winter’s temperature regime.  Interested parties are welcome to attend.   

January 23, 2018:
Due to recent unseasonably frigid weather conditions, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission board today voted unanimously to extend the oyster season by seven days for the five hand scrape harvest areas that were scheduled to close on Jan. 31. As a result, those area will remain open through Feb. 9. The agency’s Shellfish Management Advisory Committee will meet on Feb. 1 to make recommendations on whether to similarly extend the oyster season in harvest areas scheduled to close Feb. 28. In other action, the board voted 7-1 to approve the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline with 10 permit conditions designed to minimize the construction impacts to 18 water body crossings. [Meeting Summary]

January 22, 2018: The scheduled Jan. 23, 2018 public hearing on the National Park Service’s proposal concerning Dyke Marsh in Fairfax County will NOT be heard by the Commission Board at this meeting, due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. The hearing will be rescheduled for the Feb. 27 regularly scheduled monthly Commission meeting. The agency regrets any inconvenience to any and all interested parties. This public hearing will NOT be held on Jan. 23, 2018.

January 19, 2018: The ASMFC held a public hearing at the Commission Offices on January 16, 2018 to gather public comment on Draft Addendum XXX to the Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. Written comments on Draft Addendum XXX can also be sent to Caitlin Starks, ASMFC FMP Coordinator using the email address,, with Subject line: ‘Draft Addendum XXX Comment’ or mailed to 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA 22201. [ASMFC Notice]

January 3, 2018: This is a notice that 80 percent of the 51,104 pound commercial landings quota for speckled trout has been taken for the season that began on September 1, 2017 and will extend through August 31, 2018.  Effective 12:01 A.M. Saturday, January 6, 2018, it shall be unlawful, for any commercial fisherman registration licensee, to take, harvest, land or possess a daily bycatch limit of more than 100 pounds of speckled trout, and that daily bycatch landing limit of speckled trout shall consist of at least an equal amount of other fish species. When it is projected that the commercial landings quota will be met, the Marine Resources Commission will provide notice of the closing date for commercial harvest and landing of speckled trout; and it shall be unlawful for any person to harvest or land speckled trout for commercial purposes, after such closing date and until September 1, 2018. If you have questions or comments, please contact Jill Ramsey at (757) 247-2243.

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