This article provides an overview of Atlantic striped bass regulations in Virginia for the 2020 fishing season. Also included is information related to federal and state striped bass management.
For the most recent updates of Virginia fishing regulations, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) website (mrc.virginia.gov).
In September 2019, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) voted to convert emergency amendments as a permanent part of regulation to Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass,” to lower the recreational possession limit to one fish (20″ minimum size) in the Chesapeake Bay area and establish a 36″ total length recreational maximum size limit in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal areas.
The latest changes include specific seasonal regulations for the Atlantic Coast, Chesapeake Bay, and Potomac River.
In 2019, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) approved a 7.66% reduction in the Chesapeake Bay area commercial quota and a 9.81% reduction in coastal area commercial quota for the 2020 fishing year.
In addition, the 28” commercial maximum size limit season in the Chesapeake Bay was extended to March 15 through June 15 to further protect the spawning stock of striped bass. Previously, the season ran from March 26 through June 15.
VMRC also established commercial gill net maximum mesh size requirements in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal areas.
ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass IFMP
In 2019, The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum VI to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.
The Addendum reduces all state commercial quotas by 18%; implements a 1 fish bag limit and a 28”-35” recreational slot limit for ocean fisheries; and a 1 fish bag limit and an 18” minimum size limit for Chesapeake Bay recreational fisheries.
States may submit alternative regulations through conservation equivalency to achieve an 18% reduction in total removals relative to 2017 levels.
Addendum VI was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing.
Virginia Saltwater Fishing Regulations
Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan Addendum VI
2018 Atlantic Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment