Agency News

October 10, 2019:  The Commission welcomes new Ageing Lab staff, Dr. Hank Liao, Lab Manager, and Jessica Gilmore, Lab Technician. This summer, the former Old Dominion University (ODU) fish ageing lab moved to the Marine Resource Commission offices at Ft. Monroe. Ageing Lab personnel process hundreds of fish otolith and scale samples annually to help determine age and growth characteristics of fish important in Virginia saltwaters. Dr. Liao is also a regular participant in Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) regional fisheries management processes and is a well known expert in fish ageing techniques. Click on the link to learn more about the Ageing Lab. [Ageing Lab]

October 9, 2019: 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has increased the retention limit for the commercial aggregated large coastal shark and hammerhead shark management groups (Appendix 1) for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 45 to 55 sharks per vessel per trip effective October 9, 2019.  Per Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 ET SEQ. "Pertaining to Sharks" state possession limits mirror these new federal possession limits. [NOAA Notice  |   VA Commercial Shark Possession Limits]

October 3, 2019:
Virginia's Fall recreational striped bass season starts tomorrow. In Virginia, MRC is promoting "FISH F.A.S.T. FOR STRIPED BASS", encouraging anglers to use non-offset circle hooks while fishing. We hope this measure will decrease the amount of release mortality in our state and improve the long-term health of this resource. [FISH F.A.S.T. with Circle Hooks | New Fall Season Rules]

September 30, 2019:
An emergency closure of the commercial cobia season is effective tomorrow, October 1, 2019; it shall be unlawful for any person, fishing commercially, to harvest or possess any cobia after today. A public hearing pertaining to this emergency closure will occur on October 22, 2019. [Notice]

Recreational cobia season will also end on September 30th. We have heard that it has been an excellent year for catching cobia in Virginia and want to remind all permittees to report their activity online through the Virginia Saltwater Journal or on paper forms. As a reminder, permittees have until October 21st to report all activity. All permittees are required to report activity by October 21st, even if your activity was "I did not take a cobia trip in 2019". Permittees that do not report by October 21st will not be eligible for a cobia permit in 2020. If you have any questions about the cobia permit or reporting requirements in 2019, please contact VMRC at 757-247-2078. [SWJ Online Reporting | Paper Reporting Form]

September 25, 2019: 
The Commission voted 7-1 yesterday to make last month's emergency amendments as a permanent part of regulation to Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass," to lower the recreational possession limit to one fish in the Chesapeake Bay area, establish a 36" total length recreational maximum size limit, and establish commercial gill net maximum mesh size requirements in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal areas.  See the meeting summary for other results of the Commission's monthly meeting. [Meeting Summary]

Effective 12:01 A.M., Tuesday, October 1, 2019, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fall Fishery will open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. [Notice]

September 11, 2019:  Emergency Closure # 210J for portions of the Lynnhaven River, the lower James River and Back River and their tributaries has been RESCINDED effective Thursday September 12, 2019. All shellfish harvesting waters will return to their prior classification with the exception of the Conditionally Approved waters in the Nansemond River, Lynnhaven River and Linkhorn Bay.  Click here for the status of Conditional Shellfish Harvesting waters. [VDH Notice]

August 29, 2019: A 466-pound swordfish, caught on August 16, 2019 by Tony Gower Jr. of Virginia Beach, VA, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Director of Virginia's Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Gower's catch surpassed the existing record of 446-pounds, caught in October 2012, by Joseph T. Harris, of Virginia Beach. [Press Release]

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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

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Chesapeake Bay Plate
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Fisherman Identification Program
VMRC Regulations
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Anglers Guide