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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

July 17, 2019: NOAA Fisheries has increased the retention limit for the commercial aggregated large coastal shark and hammerhead shark management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 3 to 36 sharks per vessel per trip effective June 25, 2019.  Per Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 ET SEQ. "Pertaining to Sharks" state possession limits mirror these new federal possession limits.  [ASMFC Notice | VA Commercial Shark Possession Limits]

June 25, 2019:
Commissioner Bowman was at the CBF Brock Center on June 25, 2019 to offer remarks on the signing of Senate and House bills relating to oyster ground leasing. Commissioner Bowman also introduced Governor Ralph Northam.
Governor & Commissioner

June 25, 2019: The Commission voted unanimously to approve 57.74 acres of oyster planting ground in Hungars Creek in Northampton County. The Commission also voted unanimously on multiple crab fishery regulations to include: establishing commercial harvest season dates for 2019 and 2020 of March 17 through November 30 for crab pots and April 1 through October 31 for all other gears; closing the 2019-2020 winter crab dredge fishery season; increasing the November bushel limit to match October; and allowing crab license transfers to be based on eligibility rather than a purchased license. [Meeting Summary]

June 24, 2019: The Agency will be closed to the public on Friday, June 28th for training.

June 18, 2019:  Notice to offshore fishing fleet east of NC and VA of bathymetric survey activity June to October 2019. This summer and fall, Avangrid Renewables will continue to study the Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Lease Area (OCS-A 0508) by conducting High Resolution Geophysical Surveys. The purpose of the surveys is to characterize seabed/sub-surface conditions in the Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Lease Area. [Notice]

June 11, 2019:  Effective 12 noon, Wednesday, June 12th, 2019, the Virginia horseshoe crab hand harvest commercial fishery will close. The possession or landing of any horseshoe crabs in Virginia by any gear type except trawl or pound net shall be prohibited. [Notice]

May 31, 2019:
Fish On! Free Fishing Days Established for Recreational Fishing in Virginia Saltwater areas for June 7-9, 2019. If you’ve always wanted to try fishing, now is your chance! You may recreationally fish without a license again this year, during the first full weekend in June. Take advantage of the free fishing days, June 7, 8, and 9, 2019, and enjoy the great outdoors with your family and friends without having to spend money for a fishing license.

May 28, 2019: 
The Commission voted unanimously to make last month's emergency closure of the spring recreational striped bass trophy season a permanent regulation.  The Commission also adopted a regulation providing for a fast-track permitting program and permit application requirements, in order to authorize the selection and use of appropriate sites for disposal of dredge material on State-owned submerged lands for local government projects in Tidewater Virginia.  Click on the following link to see the full results of today's Commission Meeting.  [Meeting Summary]

May 23, 2019:
Black Sea Bass Recreational Season Closes May 31st -- the Black Sea Bass recreational season will close May 31st. It will re-open again on June 22 and remain opened through December 31. The 21 day closure was necessary to account for quota harvested during the February recreational season.

May 22, 2019: ASMFC Public Hearing on Amendment 1 to the Atlantic Cobia Fishery Management Plan -- VMRC will host a public meeting 6pm, June 12, 2019 at their Fort Monroe Headquarters. The draft amendment addresses a number of issues related to the transition of cobia management from the federal government to the states. Major issued addressed include establishment of processes to define biological reference points and specify harvest, changes to commercial monitoring of landings, clarification of the process for evaluating recreational harvests against state harvest targets, potential changes to commercial fishery management measures, and recommended management measures for federal waters. [Notice | Cobia Information]


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VMRC in the News


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