Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
6/24/2019

Chapter 3. Finfish.

Article 1. Licenses.

§ 28.2-300. License application to fish with certain nets.

Any person desiring to take or catch fish with any device shall apply to the Commissioner for a license. An applicant for a license to fish with a fixed device shall apply in writing to the officer assigned to the district in which the fixed device is proposed to be located. Every applicant shall state on oath his true name and address; the place where the net, seine, fyke, weir, or other device is to be fished; and that he will not violate the laws of this Commonwealth in relation to the taking and catching of fish.

Code 1950, § 28-42; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-47; 1983, c. 307; 1992, cc. 836, 895.

§ 28.2-301. License fee for fishing in tidal waters.

Every applicant for a license to catch or take fish shall pay the following license fee or such fee as it may be subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201:

1. On each pound net, $25;

2. On each stake gill net of 1,200 feet in length or under with a fixed location, $15;

3. On all other gill nets up to 600 feet, $10;

4. On all other gill nets over 600 feet and up to 1,200 feet, $15;

5. On each person using a cast net or throw net or similar device, $8;

6. On each fyke net head, weir, or similar device, $8;

7. For up to 100 fish pots or eel pots, $12;

8. For over 100 but not more than 300 fish pots or eel pots, $20;

9. For over 300 fish pots or eel pots, $50;

10. For fish trotlines, $12;

11. On each person using or operating a fish dip net, $6;

12. On each haul seine under 500 yards in length used for catching fish, $29; or

13. On each haul seine from 500 yards up to 1,000 yards in length used for catching fish, $88.

Code 1950, § 28-43; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-48; 1966, c. 684; 1968, c. 748; 1972, c. 833; 1973, c. 21; 1976, c. 392; 1979, c. 274; 1981, c. 61; 1983, c. 307; 1990, c. 445; 1992, cc. 493, 503, 836; 1993, c. 11; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302. Commercial fishing pier; license fee; penalty.

A. The owner of a commercial fishing pier shall pay an annual license fee of $50 or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201 for each pier that is over or upon the subaqueous beds of the Commonwealth.

B. Net fishing shall not be permitted within 300 yards of the sides or end of a commercial fishing pier. The Commission may decrease this distance if it considers 300 yards to be an excessive distance because of the size of the body of water where the pier is located. A violation of this subsection is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

C. The construction or erection of a commercial fishing pier on a subaqueous bed of the Commonwealth is subject to the permit requirements of § 28.2-1203.

D. For purposes of this section, a commercial fishing pier means any pier whose primary purpose is to allow fishing by the public for a fee. A public fishing pier operated by a political subdivision shall be considered to be a commercial fishing pier, although no fee is charged.

1976, c. 343, § 28.1-52.2; 1979, c. 274; 1992, c. 836; 2009, c. 9.

Article 1.1. Saltwater Recreational Fishing.

§ 28.2-302.1. Recreational license required.

Except in areas under the jurisdiction of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and as provided in § 28.2-302.5, a person shall not take or catch fish with rod and reel, hand line, by spearing or gigging, with a cast net, with a dip net, or by using up to two eel pots in the tidal waters of the Commonwealth under the jurisdiction of the Commission without first obtaining a saltwater recreational fishing license. The license required by this section and issued pursuant to § 28.2-302.2, 28.2-302.2:1, 28.2-302.6, 28.2-302.7, 28.2-302.8, 28.2-302.9 or 28.2-302.10 shall not be transferable.

1992, c. 895; 1993, c. 241; 2002, c. 215; 2004, c. 486; 2005, c. 124.

§ 28.2-302.1:1. Fisherman Identification Program.

The Commission shall establish the Fisherman Identification Program, which shall be consistent with the National Saltwater Angler Registry Program. Those persons who purchase a license under this article shall not be required to register with the Fisherman Identification Program.

2010, c. 484.

§ 28.2-302.2. Recreational license fee; cooperative program.

A. The annual fee for the saltwater recreational fishing license shall be seven dollars and fifty cents or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201. Agents of the Commission shall retain the agent's fee established by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries pursuant to subsection B of § 29.1-327, except that the agent's fee shall be deducted from the license fee established by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 4 of § 28.2-201, as compensation for issuing each license.

B. All funds collected under this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established in § 28.2-302.3.

C. The Commission shall enter into cooperative programs with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

D. The Commission shall also have the power necessary to conduct and establish cooperative fish projects with the federal government as prescribed by Congress and in compliance with rules and regulations promulgated by the United States Secretary of the Interior.

E. Upon implementation of an automated point-of-sale licensing system, licenses issued under this section shall be valid for one year from their date of purchase.

1992, c. 895; 2001, c. 115; 2007, c. 30; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302.2:1. Special combined individual sportfishing licenses.

A. Residents and nonresidents of the Commonwealth may obtain:

1. A special combined sportfishing license to fish in all inland waters and the tidal waters of the Commonwealth during the open season. For residents, this license shall be in lieu of the state resident freshwater fishing license required by subdivision A 2 of § 29.1-310, and the saltwater recreational license required by § 28.2-302.1. The cost of this license for residents shall be the sum of the costs of the two component resident licenses. For nonresidents, this license shall be in lieu of the state nonresident freshwater fishing license required by subdivision A 3 of § 29.1-310 and the saltwater recreational license required by § 28.2-302.1. The cost of this license for nonresidents shall be the sum of the costs of the two component nonresident licenses.

Agents of the Commission shall retain the agent's fee established by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries pursuant to subsection B of § 29.1-327, except that the agent's fee shall be deducted from the license fee established by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 4 of § 28.2-201, as compensation for issuing each license. Of the funds collected under this subdivision, (i) the cost of the component saltwater license shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established in § 28.2-302.3, and (ii) the cost of the component freshwater fishing license shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Game Protection Fund, as established in § 29.1-101.

The two component licenses shall be independently priced by their respective agencies. The saltwater recreational license shall be priced by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201. The freshwater fishing license shall be priced by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries pursuant to § 29.1-103.

2. A special combined sportfishing license to fish in all the tidal waters of the Commonwealth during the open season that covers the owner of a recreational boat not carrying anglers for hire, in any registered boat owned and operated by him, and his passengers. For residents, this license shall be in lieu of the state resident fishing license required by subdivision A 2 of § 29.1-310, the saltwater recreational license required by § 28.2-302.1, and the saltwater recreational boat license established by § 28.2-302.7. The cost of this license for residents shall be $125. For nonresidents, this license shall be in lieu of the state nonresident fishing license required by subdivision A 3 of § 29.1-310 and the saltwater recreational license required by § 28.2-302.1. The cost of this license for nonresidents shall be $200.

Agents of the Commission shall retain the agent's fee established by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries pursuant to subsection B of § 29.1-327, except that the agent's fee shall be deducted from the license fee established by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 4 of § 28.2-201, as compensation for issuing each license. Of the funds collected under this subdivision, (i) $48 per resident license sold and $76 per nonresident license sold shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established in § 28.2-302.3, and (ii) $77 per resident license sold and $124 per nonresident sold shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Game Protection Fund, as established in § 29.1-101.

B. Residents and nonresidents of the Commonwealth may obtain a special combined sportfishing trip license to fish in all inland waters and tidal waters of the Commonwealth during the open season. This license shall be in lieu of the trip fishing license specified in subsection A of § 29.1-311 and the saltwater recreational license required by § 28.2-302.1. The cost of the license shall be $10.50 for residents and $15.50 for nonresidents. The license shall be valid for five successive days as specified on the face of the license. Agents of the Commission shall retain the agent's fee established pursuant to subsection B of § 29.1-327, except that the agent's fee shall be deducted from the license fee established by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 4 of § 28.2-201, as compensation for issuing each license. Of the funds collected under this subsection, (i) $5 per license sold shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund and (ii) $5 per resident license sold and $10 per nonresident license sold shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Game Protection Fund.

C. The Commission may subsequently revise the cost of licenses in this section pursuant to § 28.2-201.

2004, c. 486; 2007, c. 30; 2009, c. 9; 2011, c. 287; 2012, c. 579.

§ 28.2-302.3. Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund established.

There is hereby established a special, nonreverting fund in the state treasury to be known as the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, hereafter referred to as the Fund. The interest earned on the principal of the Fund also shall not revert to the general fund. The Fund shall be administered by the Commission, to be used solely for the purposes of conserving and enhancing finfish species taken by recreational anglers; enforcing the provisions of §§ 28.2-302, 28.2-302.1, and 28.2-302.6 through 28.2-302.9 and regulations promulgated thereunder; improving recreational fishing opportunities; administrating the Virginia Saltwater Sport Fishing Tournament certificates program; obtaining necessary data and conducting research for fisheries management; and creating or restoring habitat for species taken by recreational fishermen. The Fund shall consist of moneys collected pursuant to §§ 28.2-302, 28.2-302.2, and 28.2-302.6 through 28.2-302.9.

1992, c. 895; 1995, c. 169.

§ 28.2-302.4. Virginia Recreational Fishing Advisory Board established.

A. There is hereby established the Virginia Recreational Fishing Advisory Board, which shall hereinafter be known as the Board. The Board shall advise the Commission in the expenditure of moneys received in the Fund.

B. The Board shall consist of nine members selected from a list of nominees by organized groups, clubs, civic organizations or self-nominations and appointed by the Commissioner who are representative of the interests associated with recreational fishing including representatives from organized recreational clubs and others interested in recreational fishing. The membership shall be representative of the geographic area covered by the license.

C. The term of office of each member shall be for three years, provided that initial appointments shall be three members appointed for three years, three members appointed for two years and three members appointed for one year. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be made to fill the unexpired term.

D. Members shall receive no compensation for their services but shall receive reimbursement for actual expenses. The Board shall meet at the call of the Commissioner or at least four times yearly.

1992, c. 895.

§ 28.2-302.5. Exemptions to saltwater recreational fishing license.

A. The following persons shall be exempt from the requirements of obtaining a saltwater recreational fishing license as set forth in § 28.2-302.1:

1. A person under the age of 16 or a person who has attained the age of 65.

2. A person fishing from private real property that he owns or rents, the nonpaying guest of such person, or a member of the immediate family of such person.

3. A person fishing from a licensed recreational boat licensed pursuant to § 28.2-302.7.

4. A person fishing from a licensed headboat, charterboat, or pier licensed pursuant to § 28.2-302 or 28.2-302.8.

5. A person fishing with gear licensed by the Commission.

6. The holder of a valid recreational fishing license issued by another state or jurisdiction, upon determination of reciprocity of the license by the Commissioner.

7. Members of the following groups, as determined by the Commissioner:

a. Organized groups of individuals with physical or mental limitations;

b. Organized groups of military veterans residing in veterans' hospitals; and

c. School groups, grades kindergarten through 12, participating in school-sponsored trips.

8. A permanently and totally disabled person as defined in § 58.1-3217 holding a special lifetime saltwater recreational fishing license issued pursuant to § 28.2-302.10.

9. A person holding a lifetime saltwater recreational fishing license issued pursuant to § 28.2-302.10:1.

10. A person fishing from a federally owned park or reserve with boundaries extending into an adjoining state that does not require a saltwater fishing license.

11. A Virginia resident who is a member of an American Indian tribe recognized by the Commonwealth and is carrying (i) an identification card or paper signed by the chief of his tribe, (ii) a valid tribal identification card, (iii) a written confirmation through a central tribal registry, or (iv) a certification from a tribal office, stating that the person is a member of such tribe. Such card or other certification shall create a presumption of residence in Virginia that may be rebutted by proof of actual residence elsewhere.

B. No saltwater recreational fishing licenses shall be required on days that are designated as free fishing days. The Commissioner shall designate no more than three free fishing days in any calendar year. This exemption shall not apply to headboats, charterboats, or rental boats.

1992, c. 895; 1993, c. 241; 1999, c. 107; 2000, cc. 110, 142; 2002, c. 215; 2018, c. 118.

§ 28.2-302.6. Temporary license.

A. The Commission shall provide for issuance of a temporary saltwater recreational fishing license, which shall be valid for a stated period of time not to exceed ten consecutive days. The fee for the temporary license shall be five dollars or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201. Agents shall retain fifty cents as compensation for issuing each license.

B. All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established by § 28.2-302.3.

1992, c. 895; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302.7. Recreational boat; reporting of catch.

A. The owner or operator of a recreational boat used for saltwater recreational fishing shall have the option of purchasing a saltwater recreational fishing license which covers his passengers and himself to meet the licensing requirements set forth in § 28.2-302.1. The cost of the license shall be $30 or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201 a year for boats; however, notwithstanding subdivision 4 of § 28.2-201, the Commission may institute a one-time fee increase of no more than $10 to purchase the license issued pursuant to this section. If the owner or operator of the boat does not purchase a license which covers all his passengers, individuals shall still purchase a license as required by § 28.2-302.1. Purchasers of licenses pursuant to this section will be issued an individual license, at no additional cost, as required in § 28.2-302.1.

B. Holders of licenses issued pursuant to subsection A shall report catch and other data as are deemed necessary by the Commission for effective fisheries management.

C. All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established by § 28.2-302.3.

1992, c. 895; 1994, c. 559; 1999, c. 106; 2009, c. 9; 2010, c. 484.

§ 28.2-302.7:1. Reissuance of licenses for recreational boats.

The Commission shall provide for the reissuance of a saltwater recreational fishing license to a person who holds a valid license for a recreational boat issued pursuant to § 28.2-302.7 and who owns or operates another recreational boat. The cost of reissuing a license shall be five dollars or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201. A reissued license shall be valid for the balance of the term of the original license.

1994, c. 163; 1999, c. 106; 2007, c. 30; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302.8. Headboat or charterboat; rental boats.

A. The Commission may establish the sale of a fishing guide license. If established, such fishing guide license shall be required for each charterboat and headboat captain. The Commission may limit the sale of such licenses when deemed necessary by the Commission for effective fisheries management. The application for the license shall include a copy of the applicant's current U.S. Coast Guard license permitting him to carry passengers for hire. The fee for the license shall not exceed $100. The Commission may reduce the fee charged for the saltwater recreational fishing license under subsection B by an amount equal to the fee for the fishing guide license.

B. The owner of a headboat or charterboat annually shall purchase a recreational fishing license which covers his passengers and the captain and mate of the vessel to meet the requirements set forth in § 28.2-302.1. The annual cost of the license shall be $150 for uninspected vessels licensed by the United States Coast Guard to carry six fishing passengers or fewer and, for boats United States Coast Guard certified to carry a number of fishing passengers greater than six, $150 plus $4 for each passenger over six for which the boat is designed. A headboat or charterboat owner who has purchased the license required under this subsection shall be issued, at no additional cost, the saltwater recreational fishing license issued pursuant to § 28.2-302.1.

C. The owner of a boat rental service shall purchase a recreational fishing license which covers his customers to meet the requirements set forth in § 28.2-302.1. The annual cost of the license shall be $7.50 per boat with a maximum fee of $500, whichever is less.

D. Charterboat and headboat operators shall report such data as are deemed necessary by the Commission for the effective fisheries management as a condition of issuance of the license.

E. All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established by § 28.2-302.3. The Commission may subsequently revise the cost of licenses in this section pursuant to § 28.2-201.

1992, c. 895; 1999, cc. 681, 1019; 2005, c. 198; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302.9. Commercial fishing pier.

A. The owner of a commercial fishing pier, as defined in § 28.2-302, shall have the option of purchasing a saltwater recreational fishing license, covering his customers, in order to meet the licensing requirements set forth in § 28.2-302.1. The cost of the license shall be $450. If the owner of the pier does not purchase such a license, individuals shall still purchase a license as required by § 28.2-302.1.

B. Owners of commercial piers shall report catch and other data as are deemed necessary by the Commission for effective fisheries management.

C. All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established by § 28.2-302.3. The Commission may subsequently revise the cost of licenses in this section pursuant to § 28.2-201.

1992, c. 895; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302.10. Special lifetime saltwater recreational fishing license; permanently and totally disabled persons.

A. Any resident who is permanently and totally disabled, as defined in § 58.1-3217, who applies for a special lifetime saltwater recreational fishing license shall receive such a license for a fee of five dollars or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201. The applicant shall provide proof of permanent and total disability acceptable to the Commissioner.

B. All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established by § 28.2-302.3.

1993, c. 241; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-302.10:1. Lifetime saltwater recreational fishing licenses for residents and nonresidents.

A. Any resident or nonresident individual may apply for and receive from the Commission a lifetime saltwater recreational fishing license after payment of a fee of $250, except as provided in subsection C. This license shall be valid for the life of the individual and shall not be transferable.

B. All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, as established by § 28.2-302.3.

C. Any resident 45 years of age or older who applies for the lifetime license authorized by this section shall receive such a license for one of the following fees based on age: age 45 through 50, $120; age 51 through 55, $90; age 56 through 60, $60; age 61 through 64, $30; and age 65 and older, $5.

D. The Commission may subsequently revise the cost of licenses in this section pursuant to § 28.2-201.

1999, c. 107; 2009, c. 9; 2013, cc. 55, 344.

Article 2. Taking of Fish, Net, and Device Restrictions.

§ 28.2-303. Taking and sale of sturgeon prohibited; penalty.

Except as otherwise provided by regulation, it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or possess any sturgeon. Any sturgeon caught by any person shall be immediately returned to the water.

It shall be unlawful for any dealer or wholesaler of fish for human consumption to buy from others or to otherwise possess for purposes of resale any sturgeon.

A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1970, c. 629, § 28.1-49.1; 1981, c. 579; 1984, c. 13; 1985, cc. 546, 615; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-304. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2014, cc. 108 and 142, cl. 1.

§ 28.2-305. Size of mesh and length and depth of certain nets; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to use the following nets:

1. A pound net or a mullet gill net that is less than 200 yards long having a smaller mesh than two inches, stretched measure, after having been tarred;

2. A haul seine longer than 1,000 yards and if over 200 yards long having mesh less than three inches, stretched measure; however, the mesh of up to 400 feet of the net shall be no less than two and one-half inches, stretched measure, when the haul seine is set from the beach whereby one end of the net is anchored to the shore and the other end is mechanically drawn, without the aid of a boat or vessel, to the shore; or

3. A mullet gill net deeper than 40 meshes.

B. It is unlawful to set a pound net or other fixed fishing device on an established and presently used haul seine area, except that this provision shall not affect a pound net stand presently licensed.

C. A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-46; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-51; 1992, c. 836; 2012, c. 228.

§ 28.2-306. Use of certain fishing devices in certain waters; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to use any snatch hook, grab hook or gang hook for the purpose of taking or catching fish in the Rappahannock River below the Downing Bridge at Tappahannock between January 1 and March 15. Nothing in this section shall apply to any licensed fixed fishing device.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1968, c. 748, § 28.1-51.1; 1976, c. 200; 1982, c. 632; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-307. Length of fixed fishing device; gill nets; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to use a single fixed fishing device having a total length greater than 1,200 feet. Clear and unobstructed intervals of at least 200 feet shall be maintained between successive fishing structures in the same row, and adjoining rows of fishing structures shall be at least 300 yards apart. In addition, a clear passageway at least 200 feet wide shall be maintained, reaching from all regular navigable channels to all established boat landings. All stakes shall project not less than four feet above the surface of the water at all stages of the tide. Any stake not complying with this condition shall be removed by the licensee.

B. The Commission shall, by regulation, establish the minimum distance between any net and the side or end of any fixed fishing device.

C. A violation of any provision of this section or any regulation adopted pursuant to subsection B is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-46.1; 1954, c. 215; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-52; 1964, c. 393; 1974, c. 97; 1990, c. 494; 1992, c. 836; 2009, c. 28.

§ 28.2-308. Setting of gill nets in oceanfront; penalty.

From the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day through September 15 of each year, gill net operators along the southern oceanfront boundary of the United States Dam Neck Military Base south to the North Carolina border shall maintain unimpeded breaks of 500 feet between adjacent rows of nets. Gaps between such gill nets in the same row shall occur no less than every 2,000 feet. These gill nets shall be set at a minimum of 400 feet seaward from the mean high-water mark.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-46.1; 1954, c. 215; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-52; 1964, c. 393; 1974, c. 97; 1990, c. 494; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-309. Distance nets may extend across body of water or channel; prohibition; regulations; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to set or fish any net or nets across any river, bay, estuary, creek, or inlet which are longer than one-fourth the width of the body of water from mean low water to mean low water at the point where the net or nets are set or fished.

B. It is unlawful to set or fish any net, other than a menhaden net, in any portion of a marked channel of a river, bay, estuary, creek, or inlet which has navigation aids installed or approved by any agency of government. However, the prohibitions and restrictions on setting nets contained in this subsection shall not apply to any net set on the eastern or ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton. The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate regulations governing the setting of any net on the eastern or ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton.

C. It shall be unlawful to set or fish any net which is a hazard to navigation.

D. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-47; 1950, p. 981; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-53; 1968, c. 748; 1990, c. 212; 1991, c. 683; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-310. Trotline prohibited on ocean side of Eastern Shore; penalty.

It shall be unlawful to set a fish trotline on the ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton. The Commission officers may seize any fish trotline set in such an area.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-43; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-48; 1966, c. 684; 1968, c. 748; 1972, c. 833; 1973, c. 21; 1976, c. 392; 1979, c. 274; 1981, c. 61; 1983, c. 307; 1990, c. 445; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-311. Chickahominy River in Charles City; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to take or catch fish, shellfish, or marine organisms, on or within 500 yards below the Chickahominy Dam at Walker's, on the Chickahominy River, other than with rod and line or hand line.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-88.4; 1950, p. 471; 1956, c. 325; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-80; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-312. Rappahannock River and certain of its tributaries; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to use any haul seine (i) within 100 yards of mean low-water mark or 3 feet of water in depth at mean low water, whichever is closer to the shore, or (ii) over any oyster ground held under lease from the Commonwealth and marked as required by law in the waters of the Rappahannock River east of Downing Bridge at Tappahannock, and in its tributaries east of Downing Bridge. The restriction set forth in clause (i) shall be inapplicable where the written consent of the adjacent landowner has been obtained.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-89; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-81; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-313. Killing fish by means of explosives, drugs, or poisons; possession; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to capture or kill any fish, shellfish, or marine organisms by means of explosives, drugs, or poisons in any waters of the Commonwealth or in any waters under its jurisdiction.

B. It is unlawful to possess, sell, or offer to sell, within the Commonwealth, any fish, shellfish, or marine organisms killed or captured by means of explosives, drugs, or poisons, whether killed or captured within or without the jurisdiction of Virginia.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 28-53, 28-54; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-55, 28.1-56; 1992, c. 836.

Article 3. Restrictions on Trawling.

§ 28.2-314. Trawl nets and drag nets prohibited; sale of fish; penalty.

Except as may be provided in § 28.2-315, it is unlawful for any person (i) to take or catch fish, shellfish, or marine organisms with a trawl net, drag net, or similar device drawn through the waters by a vessel, boat, or other craft or (ii) to buy, sell, or offer for sale any fish taken or caught in the waters of the Commonwealth, or under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, with a trawl net, drag net, or similar device.

A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-68; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-67; 1973, c. 119; 1979, c. 18; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-315. Fishing with trawl net within three-mile limit; license fee.

A. It is unlawful to catch fish, shellfish, or marine organisms within the three-mile limit of the Virginia Atlantic shoreline with trawl nets or similar devices. However, the Commission may issue licenses to trawl within the three-mile limit from Cape Charles north to the Maryland line, except during September and October and from 36° 40' north latitude south to the North Carolina line at any time, and from Cape Henry south to 36° 40' north latitude between October 1 and May 1.

B. The Commission, to protect or promote the fisheries, may close and open the area, or any part thereof, described in subsection A to trawling or restrict the manner, method, size, and season of catch.

C. The license fee to fish with a trawl net or similar device in the area described in subsection A shall be $100 or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201 for each boat so employed.

Code 1950, § 28-71; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-70; 1974, c. 85; 1979, c. 18, § 28.1-69.1; 1979, c. 274; 1981, c. 52; 1983, c. 307; 1992, c. 836; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-316. Trawling boat not granted license for other fishing device; penalty.

It is unlawful for any vessel, boat or other craft equipped for trawling and having a trawl net on board to be licensed for any other net or fishing device.

A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-69; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-68; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-317. Prima facie evidence of violation; penalty.

Any vessel, boat, or other craft found in the waters of the Commonwealth, or in the waters under the joint jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, equipped for trawling and having a trawling net, drag net, or a similar device aboard with fresh or live fish on deck or in any portion of such vessel, boat or craft shall constitute prima facie evidence that the operator and master and members of the crew are guilty of trawling.

Code 1950, § 28-72; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-71; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-318. Exemption for certain trawling activity.

Nothing in this article shall prohibit (i) the use of trawl nets to catch fish outside the territorial limits of Virginia or (ii) the transport of such fish into Virginia ports for sale.

Code 1950, § 28-75; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-72; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-319. Forfeiture of fishing gear, etc.

Any net, pot, or other fishing device or gear used in violation of any of the provisions of this article shall be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth. The forfeiture shall be enforced as provided in Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2. The officer or other person seizing the property shall immediately give notice to the attorney for the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 28-75; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-72.1; 1981, c. 525; 1992, c. 836; 2012, cc. 283, 756.

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

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