Vol. 36 Iss. 23 - July 06, 2020

Chapter 450
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: 4VAC20-450. Pertaining to the Taking of Bluefish (amending 4VAC20-450-15, 4VAC20-450-20, 4VAC20-450-30).

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

Effective Date: July 1, 2020.

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


The amendments establish the commercial bluefish quota for 2020, using Virginia's percent allocation (11.8795%) of the coastwide commercial bluefish quota.

4VAC20-450-15. Definitions.

The following words or terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Annual quota" means Virginia's 11.8795% share of the annual coastwide commercial bluefish quota managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

"Bluefish" means any fish of the species Pomatomus saltatrix.

"Captain" means the person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire who operates the charter boat or head boat.

"Charter vessel" or "for-hire vessel" means a vessel operating with a captain who possesses either a Class A Fishing Guide License, Class B Fishing Guide License, or Fishing Guide Reciprocity Permit.

4VAC20-450-20. Bluefish Recreational bluefish possession limits.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to harvest or possess more than three bluefish, except as described in subsection B of this section. Any bluefish taken after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing from a charter or for-hire vessel to harvest or possess more than five bluefish. Any bluefish taken after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

C. When fishing from a boat or vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit shall be for the boat or vessel and shall be equal to the number of persons on board who are legally eligible to fish multiplied by the personal possession limits as described in subsections A and B of this section. The captain or operator of the boat or vessel shall be responsible for any boat or vessel possession limit.

4VAC20-450-30. Commercial landings quota.

A. The commercial landings of bluefish shall be limited to 915,857 pounds during the current calendar year the annual quota, except as specified in subsection B of this section.

B. If a quota transfer occurs between Virginia and another state participating in the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for bluefish, Virginia's annual quota for the current calendar year shall be limited to the annual quota amount as adjusted for transfers.

C. When it is projected that 95% of the commercial landings quota has been realized, a notice will be posted to close commercial harvest and landings from the bluefish fishery within five days of posting.

C. D. It shall be unlawful for any person to harvest or land bluefish for commercial purposes after the closure date set forth in the notice described in subsection B C of this section.

VA.R. Doc. No. R20-6427; Filed June 23, 2020, 12:45 p.m.