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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

May 14, 2019: Pursuant to State Senate Joint Resolution 309, Commission staff will be holding a public meeting on Thursday, May 30th at 10AM regarding submerged fiber optic cable protection. The meeting is primarily intended for affected regulatory and industry participants, but the public may attend. The meeting will be held at the Commission main office at 380 Fenwick Rd, Ft. Monroe, 23651. [SJR 309 Text]

May 13, 2019:
The Horseshoe Crab Dredge Category Permit commercial fishery will close beginning at sunset, on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019. [Notice]

May 9, 2019:  The Mid-Atlantic Council will hold public meetings to seek additional feedback on the development of their 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. The public is invited to attend these meetings to provide feedback on performance relative to the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, and to identify recommendations, challenges, and opportunities for the next five years.   One of the meetings will be held at the Commission's main office at 380 Fenwick Rd, Ft. Monroe 23651 on May 21st at 5:30PM. [MAFMC Notice]

May 8, 2019: Effective Sunset, Thursday, May 9th, 2019, the Virginia Horseshoe Crab General Category Permit commercial fishery will close. [Notice]

May 6, 2019:  Today, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) released the results from the 2019 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey that show the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab stock remains healthy and able to support quality commercial and recreational harvests. [Press Release]

May 3, 2019:  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will continue the prohibition on issuing the permits required by §28.2-546 of the Code of Virginia to carry oysters out of state. [Notice]

APRIL 23, 2019:  Virginia takes an important first step to address the striped bass decline and calls on other states to follow suit to protect this crucial species. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously (7-0) to enact an emergency closure for the spring recreational striped bass trophy season. [Striped Bass Press ReleaseOther Commission Meeting Actions]

APRIL 22, 2019: 
Tomorrow's Commission meeting will be live streamed. Click the link during the session to view the proceedings. [VMRC meeting live stream].

APRIL 22, 2019:
BLUE CRAB RESOURCE INFORMATION: Recent preliminary results from the Bay-wide blue crab winter dredge survey indicate a better blue crab stock condition in 2019, as compared to 2018. Preliminary abundance estimates of adult female and male blue crabs as well as juvenile crabs are substantially higher than in 2018. These preliminary data are currently under review, and a press release will be published once final 2019 estimates of abundance and the 2018 exploitation rate are available.

APRIL 18, 2019:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission staff will hold a public information hearing to share recent ASMFC and MAFMC management activities related to possible reallocation of the current state-specific shares of the commercial black sea bass coast-wide quota. The meeting will be held at our offices at 380 Fenwick Road, Bldg. 96, Fort Monroe at 6 pm on April 18. Should you be unable to attend in person, the meeting will be live streamed at VMRC meeting live stream. Should you wish to participate in the discussion, you may call 1-866-842-5779 and enter conference code 8018959747.

APRIL 17, 2018: 
Today Virginia joins Connecticut and Massachusetts in calling on the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission to take swift action this year to slow the decline of striped bass and return the population to sustainable levels.  The letter from the three states can be found here: Joint Letter to ASMFC.

APRIL 2, 2019:  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has reduced 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 25 to 3 sharks (other than sandbar sharks) per vessel per trip effective 11:30 p.m. April 1, 2019. The revised retention limit will remain in effect for the rest of the 2019 fishing season or until NMFS announces another adjustment to the retention limit, which is expected around July 15th. 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]

APRIL 1, 2019:
On April 23, 2019, the Marine Resources Commission will consider an emergency staff proposal to eliminate the Bay, Coastal and Potomac River Tributaries Spring Trophy-size Striped Bass Recreational Fisheries described in Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. [Notice]

APRIL 8, 2019: The newly created Aquaculture Management Advisory Committee (AMAC) will hold its first meeting on Monday, April 8, 2019. The meeting will be from 3:30 until 5:30 PM in the Commission Meeting Room at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Office located at 380 Fenwick Road, Building 96, Fort Monroe, in Hampton, Virginia. AMAC is charged with providing management advisory assistance to VMRC staff concerning several items identified by the Clam and Oyster Aquaculture Work Group in final their report dated December 2018, to provide advisory assistance related to recent General Assembly changes to the Code of Virginia concerning shellfish leasing and associated potential regulatory actions, and also to provide a forum for discussion and advice concerning ongoing and future issues related to shellfish management by VMRC.


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VMRC in the News


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