Vol. 34 Iss. 10 - January 08, 2018

Chapter 950
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: 4VAC20-950. Pertaining to Black Sea Bass (amending 4VAC20-950-45).

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

Effective Date: January 1, 2018.

Agency Contact: Jennifer Farmer, Regulatory Coordinator, Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, VA 23607, telephone (757) 247-2248, or email


The amendments establish a February 2018 recreational black sea bass fishery and associated permitting, monitoring, and reporting requirements.

4VAC20-950-45. Recreational possession limits and seasons.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing with hook and line, rod and reel, spear, gig, or other recreational gear to possess more than 15 black sea bass. When fishing is from a boat or vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit shall be for that boat or vessel and shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally licensed to fish, multiplied by 15. The captain or operator of the boat or vessel shall be responsible for that boat or vessel possession limit. Any black sea bass taken after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

B. Possession of any quantity of black sea bass that exceeds the possession limit described in subsection A of this section shall be presumed to be for commercial purposes.

C. The open recreational fishing season shall be from February 1 through February 28, May 15 through September 21, and October 22 through December 31.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to take, catch, or possess any black sea bass, except during an open recreational season.

E. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to take, catch, or possess any black sea bass from February 1 through February 28 without first having obtained a Recreational Black Sea Bass Permit from the Marine Resources Commission. It shall be unlawful for any permittee to fail to contact the Marine Resources Commission Operation Station before returning to shore at the end of the fishing trip. The permittee shall provide the operation station with his name, Marine Resources Commission identification (MRC ID) number, the point of landing, a description of the vessel, and an estimated return to shore time. Any such permittee shall submit a report for any recreational black sea bass fishing trips, which incudes that permittee's MRC ID number, the date of fishing, the mode of fishing, and the number of black sea bass kept or released. That report shall be submitted to the commission or to the Standard Atlantic Fisheries Information System no later than March 15 of the current calendar year. Any authorized permittee shall allow commission staff to sample the catch to obtain biological information for scientific and management purposes only.

VA.R. Doc. No. R18-5373; Filed December 13, 2017, 3:06 p.m.