Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
Chapter 10. Compacts and Joint Laws with Other States

§ 28.2-1000. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Compact.


The purpose of this compact is to promote the better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous of the Atlantic seaboard by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries, and by the prevention of the physical waste of the fisheries from any cause. It is not the purpose of this compact to authorize the states joining herein to limit the production of fish or fish products for the purpose of establishing or fixing the price thereof, or creating and perpetuating monopoly.


This agreement shall become operative immediately as to those states executing it whenever any two or more of the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have executed it in the form that is in accordance with the laws of the executing state and the Congress has given its consent. Any state contiguous with any of the aforementioned states and riparian upon waters frequented by anadromous fish, flowing into waters under the jurisdiction of any of the aforementioned states, may become a party hereto as hereinafter provided.


Each state joining herein shall appoint three representatives to a Commission hereby constituted and designated as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. One shall be the executive officer of the administrative agency of such state charged with the conservation of the fisheries resources to which this compact pertains or, if there be more than one officer or agency, the official of that state named by the governor thereof. The second shall be a member of the legislature of such state designated by the Commission or Committee on Interstate Cooperation of such state, or if there be none, or if said Commission on Interstate Cooperation cannot constitutionally designate the said member: such legislator shall be designated by the governor thereof; provided, that if it is constitutionally impossible to appoint a legislator as a commissioner from such state, the second member shall be appointed by the governor of said state in his discretion. The third shall be a citizen who shall have a knowledge of and interest in the marine fisheries problem, to be appointed by the governor. The Commission shall be a body corporate with the powers and duties set forth herein.


The duty of the said Commission shall be to make inquiry and ascertain from time to time such methods, practices, circumstances and conditions as may be disclosed for bringing about the consideration of the prevention of the depletion and physical waste of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous, of the Atlantic seaboard. The Commission shall have power to recommend the coordination of the exercise of the police powers of the several states within their respective jurisdictions to promote the preservation of those fisheries and their protection against overfishing, waste, depletion or any abuse whatsoever and to assure a continuing yield from the fisheries resources of the aforementioned states.

To that end the Commission shall draft and, after consultation with the Advisory Committee hereinafter authorized, recommend to the governors and legislatures of the various signatory states legislation dealing with the conservation of the marine, shell and anadromous fisheries of the Atlantic seaboard. The Commission shall, more than one month prior to any regular meeting of the legislature in any signatory state, present to the governor of the state its recommendations relating to enactments to be made by the legislature of that state in furthering the intents and purposes of this compact.

The Commission shall consult with and advise the pertinent administrative agencies in the states party hereto with regard to problems connected with the fisheries and recommend the adoption of such regulations as it deems advisable.

The Commission shall have power to recommend to the states party hereto the stocking of the waters of such states with fish and fish eggs, or joint stocking by some or all of the states party hereto, and when two or more of the states shall jointly stock waters the Commission shall act as the coordinating agency for such stocking.


The Commission shall elect from its number a chairman and a vice-chairman and shall appoint and at its pleasure remove or discharge such officers and employees as may be required to carry the provision of this compact into effect, and shall fix and determine their duties, qualifications and compensation. Said Commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business. It may establish and maintain one or more offices for the transaction of its business and may meet at any time or place but must meet at least once a year.


No action shall be taken by the Commission in regard to its general affairs except by the affirmative vote of a majority of the whole number of compacting states present at any meeting. No recommendation shall be made by the Commission in regard to any species of fish except by the affirmative vote of a majority of the compacting states which have an interest in such species. The Commission shall define what shall be an interest.


The Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior of the Government of the United States shall act as the primary research agency of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, cooperating with the research agencies in each state for that purpose. Representatives of the said Fish and Wildlife Service shall attend the meetings of the Commission.

An Advisory Committee to be representative of the commercial fishermen and the salt water anglers and such other interest of each state as the Commission deems advisable shall be established by the Commission as soon as practicable for the purpose of advising the Commission upon such recommendations as it may desire to make.


When any state other than those named specifically in Article II of this compact shall become a party thereto for the purpose of conserving its anadromous fish in accordance with the provisions of Article II the participation of such state in the action of the Commission shall be limited to such species of anadromous fish.


Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit the powers of any signatory state or to repeal or prevent the enactment of any legislation or the enforcement of any requirement by any signatory state imposing additional conditions and restrictions to conserve its fisheries.


Continued absence of representation or of any representative on the Commission from any state party hereto shall be brought to the attention of the governor thereof.


The states party hereto agree to make annual appropriations to the support of the Commission in proportion to the primary market value of the products of their fisheries, exclusive of cod and haddock, as recorded in the most recent published reports of the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior, provided no state shall contribute less than two hundred dollars per annum and the annual contribution of each state above the minimum shall be figured to the nearest one hundred dollars.

The compacting states agree to appropriate initially the annual amounts scheduled below, which amounts are calculated in the manner set forth herein, on the basis of the catch record of 1938. Subsequent budgets shall be recommended by a majority of the Commission and the cost thereof allocated equitably among the states in accordance with their respective interests and submitted to the compacting states.


bNew Hampshire200
dRhode Island300
fNew York1,300
gNew Jersey800
kNorth Carolina600
lSouth Carolina200


Section 1. This compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon each compacting state until renounced by it. Renunciation of this compact must be preceded by sending six months' notice in writing of intention to withdraw from the compact to the other states party hereto.

Section 2. Without further submission of said compact, the consent and approval of Congress is hereby given to the states of Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and for the purpose of the better utilization of their anadromous fisheries, to the states of Vermont and Pennsylvania, to enter into said compact as signatory states and as parties thereto, in addition to the states which have now ratified the compact.

Section 3. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission constituted by the compact shall make an annual report to Congress not later than sixty days after the beginning of each regular session thereof. Such report shall set forth the activities of the Commission during the calendar year ending immediately prior to the beginning of such session.

Section 4. The right to alter, amend, or repeal the provision sections 1, 2 and 3 is hereby expressly reserved, provided that nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit or add to the powers of the proprietary interest of any signatory state or to repeal or prevent the enactment of any legislation or the enforcement of any requirement by a signatory state imposing additional conditions and restrictions to conserve its fisheries.


The states consenting to this amendment agree that any two or more of them may designate the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission as joint regulatory agency with such powers as they may jointly confer from time to time for the regulation of the fishing operations of the citizens and vessels of such designating states with respect to specific fisheries in which such states have a common interest. The representatives of such states on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission shall constitute a separate section of such Commission for the exercise of the additional powers so granted provided that the states so acting shall appropriate additional funds for this purpose. The creation of such section as a joint regulatory agency shall not deprive the states participating therein of any of their privileges or powers or responsibilities in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission under the general compact.

Code 1950, §§ 28-254, 28-255; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-202; 1992, c. 836.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.