Vol. 36 Iss. 13 - February 17, 2020

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 29, 2020.

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


The amendment extends the February recreational fishery for sea bass until February 29, 2020.

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 29, May 15 through May 31, and June 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. From February 1 through February 28 29, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess or land any black sea bass harvested from a recreational vessel, unless the captain or operator of that recreational vessel has obtained a Recreational Black Sea Bass Permit from the Marine Resources Commission. The captain or operator shall be responsible for reporting for all anglers on the recreational vessel and shall provide his Marine Resources Commission identification (MRC ID) number, the date of fishing, the number of individuals on board, 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, as described in this subsection. It shall be unlawful for any permittee to fail to report trips where black sea bass were caught, whether harvested, released, or possessed in accordance with this section, on forms provided by the commission or through the Virginia Saltwater Fisherman's Journal within seven days after the trip occurred. It shall be unlawful for any permittee to fail to report trips where black sea bass were targeted but not successfully caught by March 15 of the current calendar year. Any permittee who did not participate in the recreational black sea bass season during February shall notify the commission of his lack of participation by March 15 of the current calendar year.

F. It shall be unlawful for any permittee to fail to contact the Law Enforcement Operations at 1-800-541-4646 before or immediately after the start of each fishing trip. The permittee shall provide the Law Enforcement Operations with his name, MRC ID number, the point of landing, a description of the vessel, estimated return to shore time, and a contact phone number. 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. R20-6297; Filed January 29, 2020, 12:26 p.m.