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Commissioner, John M.R. Bull

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

May 23, 2017: The Commission board today signaled its willingness to consider closing the fall crab season a bit earlier and delaying next spring’s season opening, as well as adjusting the fall daily bushel limit, to compensate for low juvenile crab abundance. The adult crab levels are very good, but this spring’s juveniles are this fall’s harvestable stock and next year’s spawning crabs so the board may be cautious when making crab management decisions at next month’s meeting. In other action, the board is poised to next month rescind a commercial license fee increase that was slated to go into effect this December. [Meeting Summary]

May 16, 2017: 
Effective for Tuesday May 16, 2017, Conditionally Condemned Areas C1 in Nansemond River and C1 in Lynnhaven River are OPEN to the harvest of oysters, clams and mussels.  Click on notice link to view the closure documents (report and map). [Notice]

May 15, 2017:
Fish On! Free Fishing Days Established for June 2-4, 2017 [Press Release]

May 12, 2017: Virginia Institute of Marine Science will host a workshop on blue crab mortality in shedding operations on May 31, 2017 from 7 to 9 PM. Contact Dr. Hamish Small at 804-684-7745 or to reserve a spot. Food will be provided. [Notice]

May 8, 2017:  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, begins reef building project on Piankatank River [Press Release]

April 28, 2017:  Effective Sunset, Sunday, April 30th, 2017, the Virginia horseshoe crab general category permit commercial fishery will close.  [Notice]

April 27, 2017:  Effective 11:59 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Sunday, April 30, 2017, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will close. [Notice]

April 25, 2017: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission board today was briefed on the 28th annual Bay-wide blue crab winter dredge survey results, which show a record abundance of spawning-age female crabs but a low number of juveniles, and requested staff develop potential management options to address the juvenile crab level. The board set June as the target date for a public hearing and vote on crab management measures. In other action, the board adopted an emergency regulation so eligible oyster license holders do not have to pay the Code-required user fee (which is $300 a year for harvesters) by April 30 this year in order to maintain their eligibility to harvest oysters next year. Instead, the user fee must be paid before harvesting but by the end of this calendar year at the latest.  [Meeting Summary]

April 19, 2017 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Scientific Survey Shows Promising Blue Crab Stock Abundance with Boost to Adult Females:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission today released the results of the 2017 blue crab winter dredge survey, which shows a 31 percent increase in adult female crabs and forecasts another year of improved harvests. [Press Release]

April 11, 2017: 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has reduced 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 25 to 3 sharks per vessel per trip effective 11:30 p.m. April 15, 2017. [ASMFC Notice]

March 29, 2017:
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) is hosting two workshops in late April to help the for-hire community prepare for submitting Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) electronically. The Council approved a measure last year that will phase out the current paper-based reports over the coming year. For-hire vessel operators/owners who must report VTRs for species managed by the Mid-Atlantic Council will need to report using their mobile device or personal computer in order to be in compliance. While all options for electronic reporting will be briefly discussed, the workshops will focus on hands-on training for the eTrips/mobile and eTrips/PC system, a free program developed by the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP). [Workshop Notice]

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VMRC in the News

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