Agency News

As of Tuesday February 18, 2020, 80% of Virginia's 2019/2020 commercial spiny dogfish quota has been landed. Chapter 4VAC 20-490-46, states that when it has been projected and announced by the Marine Resources Commission that 80% of the Virginia spiny dogfish quota has been landed, each Virginia seafood buyer shall call the Marine Resources Commission's interactive voice recording system on a daily basis to report the exact weight of spiny dogfish received or purchased, in pounds. If you are a federal dealer that purchases spiny dogfish, you can meet this reporting requirement by calling 757-552-6413. [Notice]

January 30, 2020:  The Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Safety announces the issuance of Emergency Shellfish Condemnation # 046-081B "West of Allens Island" in the York River effective Thursday January 30, 2020 through Wednesday February 19, 2020. This is a separate from Emergency Closure # 046-081A "Allens Island" also in the York River that was effective January 24, 2020. This closure is a result of notification of a Norovirus Outbreak in Central Virginia with an epidemiological link to shellfish harvested from a private lease located in this area. These waters are scheduled to reopen on Thursday February 20, 2020. Please direct any questions to Division of Shellfish Safety Central Office staff at 804-864-7480. [VDH Notice]

January 29, 2020: Effective 12:01 A.M., Monday, February 24, 2020, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. The landing limit for the Offshore (EEZ) Fishery from February 24 through March 31, 2020 is 12,500 pounds. Vessels may land a maximum of 12,500 pounds for the entire period of February 24 through March 31, 2020. [Notice]

January 29, 2020: VMRC staff member Vernon "Brody" Rowe, and former VMRC staff member, Vas Dunstan, were awarded Certificates of Valor by the USCG for their heroic, lifesaving actions during an July 2018 boating accident on the James River. Mr. Rowe and Mr. Dunstan worked together to assist and revive an unconscious and drowning passenger of recreational boat that had collided with a commercial barge, and were credited with saving the boaters life. For other results of yesterday's Commission meeting click on the following link. [Meeting Summary]

January 28, 2020: Fish on! The 2020 February recreational black sea bass fishing season will start February 1st and end on February 29th, 2020. We want to remind all anglers that a recreational black sea bass permit is required ONLY for the captain or operator of the vessel and that it is their responsibility to report all trips taken and black sea bass caught or released during the 2020 February recreational black sea bass season. For more details, see the following link. [Notice]

January 27, 2020:  ATTENTION shellfish harvesters working in vicinity of VDH condemned areas: beginning in 2017, the Commission made available a mobile app that uses smartphone GPS to show the phone users position relative to shellfish leases and other map features, including condemnation zones provided by VDH. If you are user of the VMRC map app please be advised that the app while designed to update map information regularly may not automatically update on all models of mobile devices. If you are using the app to determine condemned areas relative to open harvest areas please make sure the VMRC map app on your phone is up to date and properly displaying the condemnation zones. One place to check is under the app's Open Oyster Harvest Area menu option, you should see open harvest areas (in olive green) and VDH condemnation zones (in light purple). If you are not seeing the condemnation zones properly please reinstall the app or use the "Download Map Overlays" feature under the App Options menu choice. The app is available from the Apple or Google app stores, search for "VMRC Maps" on your smartphone to install. As all harvesters are already aware, it is critical that shellfish not be harvested in areas closed by MRC or VDH. It is the harvester's responsibility to always be aware of MRC and VDH closures and make responsible use of online web and web map tools to ensure they work only in areas open to harvest and not closed due to VDH condemnations. Note that the "VDH Shellfish Safety Notifications" web page is the best place to view the most up to date VDH closure information. Please use the following links to learn more about online map resources to help you determine open harvest areas and areas closed by VDH. [VDH Shellfish Safety Notifications | VDH Web Map | VMRC Map App | MRC Web Map]

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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