Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
3/22/2019

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.

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