Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
Chapter 490. Pertaining to Sharks
5/27/2020

4VAC20-490-40. Recreational Harvest Limitations.

A. Recreational fishing vessels are allowed a maximum possession limit of one recreationally permitted shark, excluding smooth dogfish, per trip, regardless of the number of people on board the vessel. In addition, each recreational vessel angler may possess one bonnethead and one Atlantic sharpnose per trip. The possession aboard a vessel of more than one recreationally permitted shark, excluding smooth dogfish, or the possession of more than one Atlantic sharpnose shark or one bonnethead shark, per person, shall constitute a violation of this regulation. When fishing from any boat or vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limits for Atlantic sharpnose shark or bonnethead shark shall be for the boat or vessel and shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally eligible to fish, plus one additional recreationally permitted shark. The captain or operator of the boat or vessel shall be responsible for any boat or vessel possession limits.

B. A recreational shore angler is allowed a maximum possession limit of one recreationally permitted shark, excluding smooth dogfish, per calendar day. In addition, a recreational shore angler may harvest one additional bonnethead and one additional Atlantic sharpnose per calendar day. The possession of more than one recreationally permitted shark, excluding smooth dogfish, or the possession of more than one bonnethead and one Atlantic sharpnose, by any person, shall constitute a violation of this regulation.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any recreationally prohibited shark.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any recreationally permitted shark landed under the recreational harvest limitations described in this section that is less than 54 inches in fork length except as described in subdivisions 1, 2, and 3 of this subsection:

1. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any recreationally caught female shortfin mako shark that is less than 83 inches in fork length or any male shortfin mako shark that is less than 71 inches in fork length.

2. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any recreationally caught great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, or smooth hammerhead shark that is less than 78 inches in fork length.

3. Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, finetooth, blacknose, and smooth dogfish sharks are exempt from the recreational size limit described in this subsection.

E. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, harvest, land, or possess any blacktip, bull, great hammerhead, lemon, nurse, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, spinner or tiger shark from May 15 through July 15 of any calendar year.

F. All sharks must have heads, tails and fins attached naturally to the carcass. Anglers may gut and bleed the carcass as long as the head and tail are not removed. Filleting any shark is prohibited until that shark is offloaded at the dock or on shore.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0063 § 4, Volume 11, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 18, eff. May 1, 1997; Volume 17, Issue 03, eff. October 15, 2000; Volume 19, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2003; Volume 20, Issue 06, eff. November 1, 2003; Volume 20, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2004; Volume 22, Issue 08, eff. December 1, 2005; Volume 25, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2009; Volume 26, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2010; Volume 27, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2011; Volume 30, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2014; Volume 34, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2018; Volume 36, Issue 06, eff. November 1, 2019.

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