Vol. 40 Iss. 22 - June 17, 2024

Chapter 510



Final Regulation

REGISTRAR'S NOTICE: The Marine Resources Commission is claiming an exemption from the Administrative Process Act in accordance with § 2.2-4006 A 11 of the Code of Virginia; however, the commission is required to publish the full text of final regulations.

Title of Regulation: 4VAC20-510. Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia (amending 4VAC20-510-35; repealing 4VAC20-510-37).

Statutory Authority: § 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: June 1, 2024.

Agency Contact: Jennifer Farmer, Regulatory Coordinator, Marine Resources Commission, 380 Fenwick Road, Building 96, Fort Monroe, VA 23651, telephone (757) 247-2248, FAX (757) 247-2002, or email


The amendments streamline the cobia aquaculture permitting process.

4VAC20-510-35. Aquaculture of cobia; permit required.

A. Any person operating an aquaculture facility in which cobia that exceed the possession limit or are of sublegal size will be cultured, possessed, offered for sale, or sold shall first obtain a permit from the commissioner for the facility. That permit shall exempt the facility from the possession requirements described in 4VAC20-510-20, 4VAC20-510-25, and 4VAC20-510-30, and authorize the possession, culturing, and sale of sublegal size cobia It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a cobia aquaculture facility without first obtaining a permit from the Marine Resources Commission (commission). This permit shall authorize and define the limits of activities concerning the purchase, possession, sale, giving, receiving, and transportation of aquacultured cobia. Any person in violation of any permit condition issued under this section may have the permit revoked at any time upon review by the commission. If the commission revokes any person's permit for an aquaculture facility, that person shall not be eligible to apply for a like permit for a period of two years from the date of revocation.

B. The application for a cobia aquaculture permit shall list the name and address of the applicant, the type and location of the facility, and an estimate of production capacity. An aquaculture permit shall be valid for 10 years from the date of issue and may be renewed by the commissioner provided the permittee has complied with all of the provisions of this chapter. The issuance and continuation of any person's cobia aquaculture permit are contingent on that designated facility being open for inspection by the Marine Resources Commission for the purposes of determining compliance with this regulation. An aquaculture permit is not transferable.

C. Any person employed by a permitted cobia aquaculture facility for the purpose of harvesting cobia as broodstock for the aquaculture facility shall be exempt from the provisions of 4VAC20-510-20, 4VAC20-510-25, and 4VAC20-510-30 provided that person possesses a scientific collection permit issued by the commissioner.

4VAC20-510-37. Aquaculture of cobia; sale, records, importation, and release. (Repealed.)

A. All cobia produced by an aquaculture facility permitted under this section shall be packaged prior to sale with a printed label indicating the product is of aquaculture origin. When packaged and labeled according to these requirements, such fish may be transported and sold at retail or wholesale or for commercial distribution through normal channels of trade until reaching the consumer.

B. Cobia that measure less than the lawful minimum size described in 4VAC20-510-30 B but are the product of a permitted aquaculture facility in another state may be imported into Virginia for the consumer market. Such fish shall be packaged and labeled in accordance with the provisions contained in subsection A of this section.

C. It shall be unlawful for any cobia produced by an aquaculture facility located within or outside the Commonwealth of Virginia to be placed into the waters of the Commonwealth without first having notified the commissioner and having received written permission from the commissioner.

NOTICE: The following forms used in administering the regulation have been filed by the agency. Amended or added forms are reflected in the listing and are published following the listing. Online users of this issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations may also click on the name to access a form. The forms are also available from the agency contact or may be viewed at the Office of Registrar of Regulations, General Assembly Building, 201 North Ninth Street, Fourth Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

FORMS (4VAC20-510)

2021 Recreational/Charter Reporting Form (rev. 1/2021)

Application for a Permit to Propagate Finfish (rev. 4/2024)

VA.R. Doc. No. R24-7896; Filed May 28, 2024