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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
Chapter 950. Pertaining to Black Sea Bass
1/20/2022

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 from a recreational vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit shall be for that 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 vessel shall be responsible for that 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 the last day of February, May 15 through May 31, and June 16 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 the last day of February, 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.

1. The captain or operator shall be responsible for reporting for all anglers on the recreational vessel and shall provide that captain's or that operator's Marine Resources Commission identification (MRC ID) number, the date of fishing, the number of persons on board, the mode of fishing, and the number of black sea bass kept or released. That report shall be submitted to the Marine Resources Commission (commission) on forms provided by the commission or through the Virginia Saltwater Fisherman's Journal.

a. It shall be unlawful for any permittee to fail to report each trip where black sea bass were targeted, whether black sea bass were harvested, released, or not caught, by March 15 of the current calendar year.

b. It shall be unlawful for any permittee who did not take any fishing trips to target black sea bass in the February recreational black sea bass season to fail to report lack of participation by March 15 of the current calendar year.

2. 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 the permittee's name, MRC ID number, the point of landing, a description of the vessel, estimated return to shore time, and a contact phone number.

3. Any permittee shall allow the commission to sample the vessel's catch to obtain biological information for scientific and management purposes.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 12, eff. January 30, 1998; amended, Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 16, eff. April 1, 1998; Volume 16, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2000; Volume 17, Issue 3, eff. October 1, 2000; Volume 17, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2001; Volume 17, Issue 16, eff. April 1, 2001; Volume 17, Issue 20, eff. May 25, 2001; Volume 18, Issue 3, eff. October 1, 2001; Volume 18, Issue 12, eff. January 31, 2002; Volume 18, Issue 14, eff. March 4, 2002; Volume 18, Issue 16, eff. April 1, 2002; Volume 19, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 19, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2003; Volume 20, Issue 16, eff. April 1, 2004; Volume 21, Issue 16, eff. April 1, 2005; Volume 26, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2010; Volume 26, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2010; Volume 28, Issue 16, eff. March 28, 2012; Volume 29, Issue 9, eff. December 11, 2012; Volume 29, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 15, eff. February 28, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2013; Volume 30, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2014; Volume 31, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2014; Volume 31, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2015; Volume 34, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2018; Volume 34, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 12, eff. January 23, 2019; Volume 35, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 13, eff. January 29, 2020; Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 37, Issue 13, eff. February 1, 2021; Volume 37, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2021.

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