Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
6/21/2024

Chapter 510. Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia

4VAC20-510-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to control the harvest, protect the spawning stocks, minimize the possibility of recruitment failure and increase yield in the amberjack and cobia fisheries. The provisions pertaining to aquaculture serve to prevent cobia raised in an aquaculture facility from being placed into Virginia waters and to minimize the impact of cultured fish in the market place on the enforcement of other provisions of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0065 § 1, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 12, eff. February 1, 2007; Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2016.

4VAC20-510-12. Definitions.

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

"Amberjack" means any fish of the species Seriola dumerili.

"Cobia" means any fish of the species Rachycentron canadum.

"Mandatory Harvest Reporting Program Web Application" means the online web-based resource provided by the commission to report commercial harvest of seafood at https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/harvest/.

"Recreational vessel" means any vessel, kayak, charter vessel, or headboat fishing recreationally.

"Snout" means the most forward projection from a fish's head that includes the upper and lower jaw.

"Total length" means the length of a fish measured from the most forward projection of the snout, with the mouth closed, to the tip of the longer lobe of the tail (caudal) fin, measured with the tail compressed along the midline, using a straight-line measure, not measured over the curve of the body.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2017; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2017; Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2018; Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 37, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2021; Volume 39, Issue 15, eff. March 3, 2023.

4VAC20-510-15. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2017; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2017; Volume 35, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 37, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2021; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 15, eff. March 3, 2023.

4VAC20-510-20. Recreational fishery possession limits, season, and vessel allowance.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to possess more than one cobia at any time. When fishing from any recreational vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit for the recreational vessel shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally eligible to fish multiplied by one, except there is a maximum recreational vessel limit of two cobia per recreational vessel per day. The captain or operator of the recreational vessel shall be responsible for any recreational vessel possession limit. Any cobia caught after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to harvest or possess any cobia before June 15 or after September 15 of the current calendar year.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to possess more than two amberjack at any time. When fishing from any recreational vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit for the recreational vessel shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally eligible to fish multiplied by two. The captain or operator of the recreational vessel shall be responsible for any recreational vessel possession limit. Any amberjack caught after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to gaff or attempt to gaff any cobia.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0065 § 2, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2002; Volume 23, Issue 12, eff. February 1, 2007; Volume 30, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2016; Volume 33, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2017; Volume 34, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2018; Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 37, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2021.

4VAC20-510-25. Commercial fishery possession limits, season, and reporting requirements.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing commercially to possess more than two cobia at any time. When fishing from any vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit for the vessel shall be equal to the number of valid commercial fisherman registration licensees on board multiplied by two, except there is a maximum vessel limit of six cobia per vessel per day. The captain or operator of the vessel shall be responsible for any vessel possession limit. Any cobia caught after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

B. Any commercial harvest of cobia shall only be reported through the Mandatory Harvest Reporting Program Web Application. Such reports shall record daily harvests from Sunday through Saturday and be submitted on a weekly basis no later than Wednesday of the following week in accordance with 4VAC20-610.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, harvest, land, or possess any cobia for commercial purposes once it has been announced by the commission that the commercial quota has been landed for the current calendar year.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing commercially to possess more than two amberjack at any time. When fishing from any vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit for the vessel shall be equal to the number of valid commercial fisherman registration licensees on board multiplied by two. The captain or operator of the vessel shall be responsible for any vessel possession limit. Any amberjack caught after the possession limit has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.

E. The possession of amberjack or cobia by licensed seafood buyers or wholesale and retail seafood establishments when operating in their capacity as buyer, wholesaler, or retailer shall not be limited by the possession limits described in this section.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 and of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2016; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 6, eff. October 25, 2017; Volume 34, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 4, eff. September 30, 2018; Errata, 35:4 VA.R. 601 October 15, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 6, eff. October 23, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 37, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2021.

4VAC20-510-30. Size limits.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, or have in possession any amberjack less than 32 inches in total length.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing commercially to take, harvest, or possess any cobia less than 37 inches in total length.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, or have in possession any recreationally harvested cobia less than 40 inches in total length.

D. When fishing from any recreational vessel, it shall be unlawful to take, catch, or have in possession more than one recreationally harvested cobia greater than 50 inches in total length per vessel.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0065 § 3, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2018; Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 37, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2021.

4VAC20-510-33. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 12, eff. February 1, 2007; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2016; Volume 34, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2018; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020.

4VAC20-510-35. Aquaculture of cobia; permit required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a cobia aquaculture facility without first obtaining a permit from the Marine Resources Commission (commission). This permit shall authorize and define the limits of activities concerning the purchase, possession, sale, giving, receiving, and transportation of aquacultured cobia. Any person in violation of any permit condition issued under this section may have the permit revoked at any time upon review by the commission. If the commission revokes any person's permit for an aquaculture facility, that person shall not be eligible to apply for a like permit for a period of two years from the date of revocation.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 12, eff. February 1, 2007; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2020; Volume 40, Issue 22, eff. June 1, 2024.

4VAC20-510-37. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 12, eff. February 1, 2007; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 21 eff. June 1, 2020; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 40, Issue 22, eff. June 1, 2024.

4VAC20-510-40. Penalty.

As set forth in § 28.2-903 of the Code of Virginia, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter committed by the same person within 12 months of a prior violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0065 § 4, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 1995.

FORMS (4VAC20-510).

2021 Recreational/Charter Reporting Form (rev. 1/2021)

Application for a Permit to Propagate Finfish (rev. 4/2024)

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