Agency News

April 3, 2020: Membership of the newly formed Menhaden Management Advisory Committee (MMAC) has been finalized. The purpose of the committee is to provide guidance to the VMRC on the sustainable management of the menhaden resource and harvest of the bait and reduction fisheries in the waters of the Commonwealth, including the Chesapeake Bay. The Commissioner extends his thanks to all applicants to the committee for their interest in assisting with the management of the menhaden fishery in Virginia. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the first MMAC meeting has not yet been scheduled. [MMAC Membership]

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is soliciting public input on an amendment to address revisions to the Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish fishery management plan goals and objectives, as well as modifications to Illex fishery permitting. A webinar-based public hearing will be held on Monday April 13th at 6:00 pm for the southern region. Written comments will be accepted through April 20, 2020. All information regarding the public hearings and written comments can be found here: [MAFMC Notice]

April 2, 2020:  Charter boat and party boat operations are hereby declared non-essential businesses. This decision has been made based on the directives contained in the Governor's Executive orders pertaining to social distancing and limitations of the number of people that may be onboard. In addition, a person undertaking a charter or party trip is making a discretionary decision that unnecessarily exposes the customer and the employees to the potential of contamination. Therefore, charter and party operations are prohibited until the Executive Orders expire on June 10, 2020.

The recreational cobia season starts June 1, 2020. Please visit the following web page for information on permitting and reporting for the 2020 season. [Recreational Cobia Fishing]

April 1, 2020:
Commercial fishermen and other maritime industry workers affected by COVID-19 pandemic should visit the Virginia Employment Commission website to file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. [VEC]

March 31, 2020: Boating and Executive Order 55:
  The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) remind all Virginians to follow the directive of the Governor's recently-released Executive Order 55 while enjoying the outdoors, whether on land or water. The Executive Order permits continued engagement in outdoor activities that can be beneficial to us all, while including safeguards that are necessary for the protection of yourself and the public. While enjoying time in or around the water or on public recreational lands, always maintain adequate social distancing of at least six feet from other individuals who are not family, household members, or caretakers at all times. You should also follow the prohibition of gatherings of 10 or more individuals which includes:

      - When present at access points for fishing or boating, whether state or locally-owned;
      - The beaching of vessels on sandbars, islands or banks while out on the water;
      - The "rafting" of vessels together; and the numbers of individuals present on any vessel.
      - When present at outdoor recreation lands, including Wildlife Management Areas.

DGIF and VMRC want the outdoors to be a place of safe escape for you during this difficult time, and our ability to continue to promote this depends upon your assistance. The basic precautions contained in the Executive Order are necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia and protect everyone's safety. DGIF's Conservation Police Officers and VMRC's Marine Police Officers will be monitoring our water access points and activities on the water and our lands to ensure compliance with the Executive Order, address problem areas, and to promote your well-being. Please do your part to help protect yourself and other Virginians and keep our outdoors available and safe to all of us.

March 30, 2020: Virginia Extends Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery until April 30, 2020.
Pursuant to the authority afforded to the Commissioner by the Governor's Executive Order 51( C) and in agreement with the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission is waiving the listed dates in 4 VAC 20-620-40 C. The offshore directed summer flounder fishery will remain open until midnight Thursday, April 30, 2020. All other regulations pertaining to the summer flounder fishery remain in effect. [Notice]

March 23, 2020:  Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind project has announced an upcoming deployment of a new metbuoy and offshore survey work within and near the Kitty Hawk Offshore wind lease area. [Notice]

March 17, 2020: Click on the following link for important interim procedures for commercial fishermen and JPA Permit Holders and Applicants during VMRC's COVID-19 office closure [VMRC COVID-19 Interim Procedures]

March 16, 2020:
 the VMRC main office on Ft. Monroe and other agency field offices are closed until further notice per Governor Northam's closure of all State facilities in the Peninsula Health District as a result of a small cluster of COVID-19 cases on the Peninsula. Next week's Commission meeting scheduled for March 24, 2020 has been cancelled. The Commission's Marine Police Operations Center will remain open for emergency services only, and Marine Police Officers will remain in the field. Citizens are encouraged to use the Agency's toll free number, 800-541-4646, to report emergencies, boating accidents and marine resource violations.  For additional information visit the Governor's COVID-19 web page. [Virginia COVID-19 Updates]

March 13, 2020:  the blue crab season starts next Tuesday, March 17, for commercial crab and peeler pots and two recreational crab pots. The season for all other commercial crab gears will open Wednesday, April 1 and the season for the recreational five pot license opens June 1. If you're catching blue crabs recreationally, check out the VMRC's new recreational crabbing page for more information on licensing, seasons, size limits, possession limits, sponge crabs, and gear restrictions. For an index of commercial crab regulations, see here.

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Commissioner’s Message

Picture of Steven G. Bowman, Commissioner

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.

Steven G. Bowman, Commissioner, VMRC

Important Links

VMRC Mobile
Chesapeake Bay Plate
Buy Recrecational Licenses
Fisherman Identification Program
VMRC Regulations
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Anglers Guide