July 11, 2018. VSSA has requested that VMRC measure fish in a consistent manner with other states. Presently the way Virginia measures fish is confusing and results in unpleasant encounters with marine police officers. VMRC is addressing this issue with a new regulation. This is not just a rockfish measurement issue. This issue applies to the way Virginia measures all fish, it just became a highlighted issue when measuring striped bass. A public hearing is being requested on July 24, 2018 for an August 28, 2018 public hearing. Stay tuned for the specific language VMRC is putting together.
REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING Proposal to amend Chapters 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass;” 4 VAC 20-280-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Speckled Trout and Red Drum;” 4 VAC 20-320-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Black Drum;” Chapter 4 VAC 20-380-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Grey Trout (Weakfish);” 4 VAC 20-500-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Eels,” 4 VAC 20-510-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia;” 4 VAC 20-540-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Spanish and King Mackerel;” 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Summer Flounder;” 4 VAC 20-910-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Scup (Porgy);” 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass;” and, 4 VAC 20-960-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Tautog,” and to establish Chapter 4 VAC 20-1340-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Measuring of Finfish,” to establish a uniform definition and process for determining the total length of fish species.
Striped bass measurement is confusing in Virginia. Here is what the guidance from VMRC states which does not allow pinching:
VA Measurements…………………..Size limits are total length measurements; fish must be measured tip of nose to tip of tail, except black sea bass, which are measured from tip of nose along the centerline of the body, to the center of the tail.
Maryland: Size limits are generally based on the total length of a fish. The total length of a fish is the maximum length with the mouth closed and the tail pinched together measured from the snout to the tip of the tail. The best way to obtain this straight line measurement is to push the fish’s snout against a vertical surface with the mouth closed and with the fish lying along a tape measure and then pinch the tail fin closed to determine the total length.
Florida: Total Length is measured from the most forward point of the head, with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed, while the fish is lying on its side.
Even Virginia’s fresh water fish program measures fish differently than Virginia’s saltwater fish. https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/trophy-fish/how-to-certify/
How to Certify a Trophy-Size Freshwater Fish
Certifying Your Fish By Length and Photo:
- Lay the fish on top of or beside a flat measuring rule. Do not lay the rule over the curvature of the fish’s body.
- Close the fish’s mouth and squeeze the tail lobes together.
- Measure from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail to the nearest ¼ inch. See diagram.
- Have an observer verify the length and complete the witness information on the application. Or, take a picture of the fish and complete the length witness information yourself.
- Fish certified by length only (no certified weight), do not qualify for “Angler of the Month & Year Awards”.
Certifying Your Fish By Weight:
- Take your fish to a store with certified scales.
- Have a clerk weigh the fish and complete the weight witness information on the application.
VSSA is working with VMRC to possibly adjust our seasons for striped bass. Our fall season does not even get going until after Thanksgiving and sometimes even later leaving us with just 2 or 3 weeks of fishing in December. Please provide your input to this poll we are running on the topic.
VSSA letters relating to rockfish: