March 27, 2022.  Striped bass, more commonly known as “rockfish” or “stripers,” are perhaps the most iconic fish in the Chesapeake Bay region. However, in recent years, the population of these beloved fish has plummeted. In an effort to reverse this decline, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is in the midst of a multi-year process to rebuild the population. And they need to hear from you!

This is an important step in revising the long-term plan for the management of this important fish. Join VSSA in urging ASMFC to help ensure a robust fishery management plan for rockfish before the April 15 deadline.  Please complete this form below. 

This is the response ASMFC will receive from you (the text box above may appear unformatted, but the email sent will be formatted as noted below).  Feel free to edit if you want to………..

The Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association was founded in 2015 and currently represents over 600 anglers and six fishing clubs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. According to Southwick Associates, the Striped Bass fishery provides a huge socio and economic value with over 100,000 jobs, generating close to $8 billion annually.  At one time, in the not-too-distant past, Striped Bass represented a huge success story in rebuilding a stock.

Unfortunately, since that previous rebuilding occurred, ASMFC’s Striped Bass Management Board has been slow to react in maintaining this iconic fishery. Due to the previous inaction from the Striped Bass Management Board, VSSA believes immediate action is called for in rebuilding the Striped Bass population and supports the most conservation-oriented positions.

VSSA submits the following recommendations for The Striped Bass Management Boards consideration.


Tier 1 Fishing Mortality Triggers – VSSA strongly believes we should maintain the Status Quo on the existing Management Triggers. Accordingly, VSSA supports:

  • Option A1: status quo – Reduce F to a level that is at or below the target within one
  • Option B1: status quo – Same as Option A1 – Reduce F to a level that is at or below the target within one year
  • Option C1: status quo – If F exceeds the F target for two consecutive years… the striped bass
    management program must be adjusted to reduce F to a level that is at or below the
    target within one year.

Tier 2-Female Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) Management Triggers – implements a 2-year deadline to act and forces a 10-year rebuilding plan (no more kicking the can down the road).

  • Option A2: VSSA supports a 2-year deadline to implement a rebuilding plan. The Board must implement a rebuilding plan within two years from when an SSB-based management trigger is tripped.
  • Option B1: VSSA supports the status quo
  • Option C1: VSSA supports the status quo

Tier 3-Recruitment Triggers – VSSA supports using trigger alternative with higher sensitivity.

  • Option A2: The recruitment trigger more sensitive than the status quo but less sensitive than sub-option A3. This trigger alternative would have tripped three times since 2003: NY in 2006; MD in 2010; MD in 2014 (VSSA position revised 030822)
  • Option B2: If the recruitment trigger is tripped…F target must be reduced within one year

Tier 4- Deferred Management Actions. VSSA believes immediate action is required (no more kicking the can down the road).

  • Option A: No deferred action if any or all of the triggers are tripped, the board is required to act.

RECCREATIONAL RELEASE MORTALITY- Section 4.2.2 The Draft Amendment 7 Plan denotes number of fish that die after release is greater than the harvest. VSSA believes steps must be taken now to reduce mortality. Accordingly, VSSA supports both effort controls (seasonal closures) and gear restrictions.

  • Option A: VSSA supports the status quo (circle hook measures)
  • Option B1: limited support – State Specific Two-Week Closures. VSSA notes two weeks may or may not be enough. For example, VSSA believes the current two-week closure is woefully inadequate in Maryland during the warm summer months.
  • Option B2: VSSA supports – Effort Closures in Spawning Area for both Recreational and Commercial Harvest. Additionally, VSSA strongly believes there should be additional restrictions placed on the commercial harvest of pre-spawn Striped Bass. We are not saying reduce the commercial quota. We advocate moving the harvest to non-pre-spawn months.
  • Option C1: VSSA supports – Additional Gear Restrictions – permit only non-lethal devices for removing fish.
  • Option C2: VSSA supports – Additional Gear Restrictions – any fish caught on any unapproved method must be returned to the water
  • Option D1: VSSA supports – Outreach and Education – States are required to develop public education and outreach campaigns

REBUILDING PLAN – Section 4.4.1

  • Option B: VSSA supports rebuilding the female SSB no later than 2029 using the low recruitment regime assumption and understands that may result in more restrictive management measures

.4.4.2 Rebuilding Plan Framework

  • Option B: VSSA supports permitting the Management Board to take action in response to 2022 benchmark assessment without having to go through an amendment or public comment period.

MANAGEMENT PROGRAM EQUIVALENCY4.6.2 aka Conservational Equivalency (CE). The current use of CE allows states too much flexibility in meeting ASMFC directives.  In the last Management Action, the Board was faced with in excess of 40 CE proposals from the states with no penalties if the CE plans failed. VSSA strongly believes Conservation Equivalency should not be allowed or used when the fishery is overfished and overfishing is occurring. Not allowing CE was not one of the options presented. Accordingly, VSSA supports the following:

  • Sub-Option B1a: VSSA supports no CE when the stock is at or below the biomass threshold.
  • Sub-Option B1c: VSSA supports no CE when the fishing mortality is at or above the fishing mortality threshold.
  • Sub-Option B2b: VSSA supports no Quota managed recreational fisheries (e.g., bonus programs)
  • Sub-Option C3: VSSA supports Default Precision Standards for MRIP Estimates – 30%
  • Sub-Option D2: VSSA supports Default CE uncertainty buffer non-quota managed fisheries – 25%. This option provides states with an incentive to design specific CE efforts to increase accuracy.
  • Sub-Option E2: VSSA supports Percent reduction at the state-specific level

As additional information, if CE is allowed, VSSA believes payback should be required in the following year for any state not meeting the objectives set in any approved CE proposal.

 Public comment was not requested on section 5.6.1 Spawning Area Closures (Pg 89 of the PID) VSSA strongly endorses the prohibition of fishing on the spawning grounds during the spawning season. In addition to the mandatory spawning closures [if selected in Section 4.2.2; delete if not-selected], states are encouraged to maintain existing spawning closures and evaluate the need for additional spawning closures.

VSSA submits the following Comment on Section 5.6.1:

  • VSSA firmly believes if any area is closed for any reason, neither recreational nor commercial fishing should be allowed in that area. If one sector (recreational or commercial) is not allowed to harvest during any period, neither sector should be allowed to harvest. Moreover, VSSA believes the Spawning areas should be closed pre spawn to both Recreational and Commercial harvest. We are not advocating Commercial quota be reduced; we advocate the harvest effort be shifted away from the pre spawning period.

Amendment 7 will set the course for the future of this iconic fishery. VSSA urges the Striped Bass Management board to act with urgency and implement the measures necessary to rebuild this fishery. Thank you in advance for considering our position on the issues in Amendment 7.



Insert Your Name


March 6, 2022.  It is time to talk about striped bass again.  We know many have moved on from striped bass believing the fishery is pretty much gone and anglers have moved on to other species.  But we believe the stocks can be rebuilt and recover.  If you rewind just 10 years ago, 20 years ago Virginia was the Rockfish capitol of the world with the best striped bass fishing in the world.  Our only path forward is to get all the states on the east coast to put conservation measures in place to allow the stocks time to recover.  Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has a draft Amendment out to try to accomplish this goal.  There are a series a public hearings coming up to hear from anglers on the draft.  VSSA Government Affairs Committee led by John Bello has taken a deep dive into this complex document and have put together some draft input.  We have to get all the states to put stricter management measures in place in particular Maryland which has always taken more than their fair share of the stocks with seasons open pretty much all year.  There are two opportunities in Virgina to make public comment directly to ASMFC.  

Tuesday, March 8, 4:00 to 6:00 pm Potomac River Fisheries Commission, 222 Taylor St, Colonial Beach, VA 22443

Wednesday, March 9, 6:00 to 8:00 pm Virginia Marine Resource Commission Online only via webinar

You should also send your comments to Emilie Franke, FMP Coordinator, at 1050N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; 703.842.0741 (fax) or at
(Subject line: Draft Amendment 7) by April 15, 2022.

VSSA has prepared some comments you can use if you agree with them or you can formulate your own comments.  VSSA Comments to Draft Amendment 7

The full document can be downloaded here.  

Please show up at one of the public hearings and take a turn at the microphone or at a minimum send you comments in via letter or email.  
















































April 3, 2021.  Here are our final comments to the Public Information Document (PID). VSSA Striped Bass PID 7 Comments 033121



















































































































March 7, 2021.  As you are aware, Americas most iconic fish, the Striped Bass is in serious jeopardy. The state of the fishery is such that it is “over fished and overfishing is occurring.”   The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has undertaken Amendment 7 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.  The Public Information Document (PID) that outlines the issues to be addressed has been released and can be found at:

VSSA will be commenting in detail on all ten issues.  A quick summary of our comments are below.  One of the major issues VSSA will be addressing is the inequities between states with Maryland being the biggest taker of striped bass followed by New Jersey while Virginia has very little access as compared to other states.  All states need to do their part to bring the stocks back, not just Virginia. 

VSSA is asking for members and angling public input on the PID.  We need to get the PID right as the ASMFC staff will formulate the Amendment based on the PID.  If you can provide your input to us by March 10 before the public hearing but for sure need your comments by Friday April 2, 2021.  Comments or concerns can be emailed to  Written Comments are due to ASMFC by 5pm April 9, 2021. Below is our current thinking on our comments.  Please note these comments are draft subject to change based on input from you, the angling public and VSSA members.  

There will be two opportunities in Virginia for the public to submit oral comments. ASMFC will conduct public hearings at VMRC on March 10 and at the Potomac River Fisheries Commission on March 15.  VSSA will be at both these meetings to provide input.  To register for a public hearing please click here: Public Hearing Registration and select the hearing(s) you plan to attend from the dropdown menu. Hearings will be held via GoToWebinar, which can be accessed using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. When connecting to audio, we strongly encourage participants to use computer voice over internet (VoIP) so you can ask questions and provide input. To attend the webinar in listen only mode, dial 1-213- 929-4232 and enter access code 527-210-568. Those joining by phone only will be limited to listening to the presentation and will not be able to provide input at the hearing.  



November 25, 2019.  Thank you Virginia anglers.  We got 325 emails sent to VMRC expressing our objection.


November 22, 2019.  VMRC Commissioners will vote on commercial cuts to Rockfish on Tuesday, November 26.  We have been told that staff is recommending a conservation equivalent which will allow the commercial cuts to be much lighter that 18% since the recreational cut is larger to 24% with the emergency rule in place.  We have objected to this (see letter below) as ASMFC voted to implement option 2 which called for even cuts of 18% for both recreational anglers and commercial watermen.  We need anglers to sound off by sending an email to VMRC not later than Monday (Nov 25) Noon.  Use this form to send a quick email.  Let’s flood VMRC with the message we must all (recs and comms) take cuts to bring back to the stocks.  The recreational angler can’t do it alone.  

September 24, 2019.  The Commission approved today the emergency amendments described in sections of Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass,” to lower the recreational possession limit for the fall season Oct 4 Dec 31 in the Chesapeake Bay area to allow one fish per angler from 20 inches to a maximum size of 36 inches and establish commercial maximum mesh size requirements in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal areas.

September 22, 2019.  VMRC public hearing for the Emergency Amendment will be heard on Tuesday, September 24 at the monthly commission meeting.  If you want to be heard and make comments, please show up around 1230 pm and take a turn at the microphone.  In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed amendments to these regulations will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 380 Fenwick Road, Bldg. 96, Fort Monroe, Virginia. Public comments on the proposals should be provided to Patrick Geer, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 380 Fenwick Road, Bldg. 96, Fort Monroe, Virginia 23651, by 12:00 p.m., Monday, September 23, 2019.

Here is the VSSA response.  VSSA Rockfish VMRC Letter 9-22-2019

September 3, 2019.  We apologize we don’t like running two polls at the same time for the same fish but VMRC threw us for a loop with an Emergency Amendment at the same time ASMFC were planning options for cuts.  Since there is a public hearing on September 24, 2019, we need input from anglers to represent your positions.  Please select your option below.  This is only for the VMRC Emergency Amendment.  Here is the wording from the August 27, 2019 VMRC meeting. 


Do you support the VMRC Emergency Amendment to lower the Chesapeake Bay Fall season to lower the limit to 1 fish per person with a maximum size of 36 inches?

  • Option 1. Yes I support the Emergency Amendment as written. (46%, 115 Votes)
  • Option 3. No, I do not support the Emergency Amendment. (31%, 77 Votes)
  • Option 2. Yes I support the Emergency Amendment but would have preferred using one of the pending ASMFC Addendum options early for the fall season. (24%, 59 Votes)

Total Voters: 251

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August 26, 2019.

ASMFC has determined Striped Bass are currently overfished and cuts are coming.  We all have a say in how these cuts will be implemented.  VSSA needs your responses to the poll below to effectively represent Virginia’s angling community. A brief summary of the situation and a brief poll of the potential regulatory options is below.  This poll closes on September 18, 2019.   The ASMFC public comment period for Striped Bass is currently open. We encourage you to express your views of the potential options by taking the poll, attending the public meetings, writing letters directly to ASMFC, and reaching out to VSSA for other opportunities for involvement. 

The full Public Information Document (PID) on the proposed addendum VI to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan can be found here:

ASMFC is hosting a series of public comment sessions.   The full listing is provided here.  The closest for us in Virginia are: 

Virginia Marine Resources Commission September 9, 2019 at 6:30 PM Virginia Marine Resources Commission 380 Fenwick Road, Fort Monroe Hampton, Virginia Contact: Alex Aspinwall or Pat Geer at 757.247.2200 
Potomac River Fisheries Commission September 10, 2019, at 6 PM 222 Taylor Street Colonial Beach, Virginia  Contact: Martin Gary at 804.224.7148

VSSA will formally respond to ASMFC and wants to represent your views.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has a number of proposed management scenarios under consideration to reduce the overfishing of Striped Bass. Please take a moment to respond to these survey questions. There are essentially 4 questions with Sub Options to be answered. Questions 2 and 3 have multiple sub options. Questions 2 and 3 appear to be similar, but they are different to allow a different set of options to be considered for both the recreational and commercial sectors. Both questions should be answered. The questions are as follows. Please fill in the blank with your choice.  


Option 1 – Maintain the status quo. Under this option there would be no change to the coastwide regulations for either the recreational or commercial Striped Bass Fishery.

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Option 2 – apply an equal 18% reduction to both the recreational and commercial fisheries relative to the 2017 harvest.

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Sub Option 2A. Contains size and bag limits for the Coastwide Ocean Fishery. If a slot option is selected there would be no take of any striped bass above or below the slot size.

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Sub Option 2B applies to the Chesapeake Bay for MD, VA, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission. If a slot option is selected there would be no take of any striped bass above or below the slot size.

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Correction change 18% to 20% for Option 3

Option 3: The Recreational Fishery would take an 18% reduction and the Commercial Sector would take a smaller Percent Reduction. Remember the Commercial Fishery is managed on a fixed quota.

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Sub-Option 3-A: Ocean Recreational Fishery. . If a slot option is selected there would be no take of any striped bass above or below the slot size.

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Sub-Option 3-B: Chesapeake Bay Recreational Fishery (MD, PRFC, DC and VA would implement). If a slot option is selected there would be no take of any striped bass above or below the slot size.

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4. Circle Hook Provision. This section proposes options regarding the use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce striped bass discard mortality in recreational fisheries.

  • Option B. States/jurisdictions would be required to implement regulations requiring the use of circle hooks, with the intent of reducing striped bass discard mortality in their recreational fisherie (56%, 278 Votes)
  • Option A. Maintain the Status Quo - The states/jurisdictions are recommended to encourage the use of circle hooks to reduce the mortality associated with hooking and releasing striped bass. (25%, 123 Votes)
  • Option C. States/jurisdictions would be required to promote the use of circle hooks by developing public education and outreach campaigns on their benefits when fishing with bait. (20%, 99 Votes)

Total Voters: 500

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VSSA has been informed that VMRC will propose an emergency rule at the VMRC meeting on Tuesday, Aug 27, 2019 to eliminate the take of large rockfish effective for the fall season starting October 4, 2019. This will be discussed at the FMAC meeting Monday, Aug 26 at 6 pm. Unfortunately the FMAC conflicts with the menhaden town forum same date/time. If you have comments you can show up at the VMRC meeting (and/or FMAC) to express your concern. This is a big impact for fishing for trophy rockfish, for charters, and for tournaments but on the other hand our fish are in trouble and action sooner rather than later may be needed. VSSA does not have a position on this subject as we were just informed today.  There is a poll running on our Facebook page so please go there to voice your input.

April 3, 2019.  We are asking all anglers to respond to this poll not later than April 15, 2019. 

Draft VMRC Emergency Rule:

On April 23, 2019, the Marine Resources Commission will consider an emergency staff proposal to eliminate the Bay, Coastal and Potomac River Tributaries Spring Trophy-size Striped Bass Recreational Fisheries described in Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq.

The justifications for this proposal include the status of the coastal striped bass stock that is overfished. This means the spawning stock is low and not biologically stable. Overfishing has been occurring for several years meaning the rate of striped bass removals from the stock has caused an overfished condition. The number of striped bass harvested recreationally by Virginia fisheries has declined markedly since 2010 when 368 thousand striped bass were harvested from all tidal Virginia waters. In 2018, preliminary recreational striped bass harvest is less than 52 thousand fish. The reporting rate for the trophy-size recreational striped bass fisheries has been low and ranged from 37 percent to 50 percent, from 2015 through 2018. All these factors have contributed to the staff proposal for these emergency actions, and section § 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia authorizes these amendments for the protection of the striped bass resource.

The emergency amendments proposed by staff include: 1) elimination of the open season for the Bay spring trophy-size striped bass recreational fishery of May 1 through June 15, inclusive, whereby a 36-inch minimum size limit has been in effect; 2) elimination of the open season for the Coastal spring trophy-size striped bass recreational fishery of May 1 through May 15, inclusive, whereby a 36-inch minimum size limit has been in effect; and, 3) elimination of the open season for the Potomac River tributaries spring striped bass recreational fishery of April 20 through May 15, inclusive, whereby a 35 inch minimum size limit is in effect.

Staff proposes an effective date of April 29, 2019 for the emergency regulation. If the Commission adopts the emergency regulation, a public hearing on this issue would be requested for May 28, 2019.

Do you support the draft VMRC emergency rule to close down the Spring trophy striped season?

  • Yes - I support the emergency rule - Virginia should lead the way for conservation. (70%, 229 Votes)
  • No - I do not support this emergency rule - Virginia should wait on a coastwide plan. (30%, 97 Votes)

Total Voters: 326

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Argument for Emergency Rule.  The latest stock assessment is not good news and shows that overfishing is occurring.  Virginia recreational anglers need to do our part to protect and rebuild these larger fish which are mostly females to protect the breeding stocks.  Not many anglers participate in the spring season anyways so taking this conservation measure now will demonstrate to other states that Virginia is leading the way to protect and rebuild the stocks.  

Argument against the Emergency Rule.  Virginia is only responsible for 3.36% of the overall harvest of rockfish and is but one state along the eastern shore that harvest rockfish.  Virginia acting alone is statistically insignificant for conservation.  Virginia should wait for ASFMC to develop a coastwide plan that all states can participate that will show real savings of the stocks.  Additionally, Virginia recreational anglers should not take cuts unless the commercial fishery also takes cuts.  


January 31, 2019.  There is a VMRC public hearing on March 26, 2019 at 380 Fenwick Road, Ft. Monroe, VA 23651 on the issue of towing striped bass and cobia. Please take a few minutes to respond this poll question to see where anglers stand on the issue. Share this poll with as many anglers as possible to get the word out. The more anglers responding the better.

Note: We are running 2 poll questions.  Please consider both poll questions before responding.  Responses are limited to IP addresses so one voter cannot vote multiple times.  

This poll is closed.  Here is a copy of the VSSA letter to VMRC:  VSSA Towing of Fish 24 March 2019

Argument For: The practice of towing striped bass and cobia behind a boat that is in gear should be banned. With a boat in gear the forward motion of the boat while trolling can be from 2 to 5 knots and the fish attached to the towed line is not likely to survive and can possibly be mutilated. Anglers wanting to tow fish are likely wanting to cull (release) that fish in case a larger fish is caught. In many cases that fish will not survive if released after being towed with the boat in gear at 2-5 knots. Additionally, towing can force water into the stomach adding weight which creates problems at weigh stations for the citation program and tournaments.

Argument Against: It should not be the business of VMRC to regulate towing. If a tournament has an issue, they can write a tournament rule but we don’t need a state regulation rule. Once an angler decides to keep a large fish that fish belongs to the angler and should be never be released later for a larger fish. Now once an angler decides to keep that fish it should become part of the boat limit. The angler can tow it, put a party hat on it, or do whatever. The angler can’t mutilate it or clean it beyond recognition while on the water so a marine police officer can’t ID the species and size. There is already a rule against mutilation and cleaning on the water. Putting a hole in the mouth is not mutilating beyond recognition. Some anglers don’t have large fish boxes and keeping that fish in cold water attached to a line is a method of keeping that fish fresh longer to enjoy the meat later. In gear, out of gear does not matter. Towing should be legal as long as the angler does not try to release it later just because a bigger one was caught. Fishing is already over regulated with too many rules in place, let’s not create new unnecessary rules. There are unethical anglers out there that will not follow the rules creating. Creating new rules will not change the behaviors of bad anglers. 

Second Poll Question:  

Question 1. Should read (question is too long for poll box):  Yes, VMRC should prohibit the culling of large fish.  No culling (releasing) of large fish (36 inches or bigger) from the fish box, live well, cooler, towed line, deck, or anywhere within or connected to the boat .  If the fish is out of the water for more than 2 minutes it will be considered caught. 

VSSA Letter to VMRC on Towning

Some unethical anglers will catch a large fish and try to keep it alive in case a bigger fish is caught. Some will even toss a fish back that has been in the fish box on ice. The smaller fish is released (culled) so the larger fish can be kept. The survival rate of the culled (released) fish is questionable. There are many ways to cull a fish (not just towing).  Perhaps the issue that needs to be addressed is the culling of large fish. We can argue over what large is but a schoolie can be kept alive in a live well for a long time and survive if released. The issue should be focused on culling because many are against the releasing of larger fish (36 or higher my opinion) that could die just because a bigger one was caught.  Should the practice of culling large should be illegal….or the towing part.  

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.

How to Certify a Trophy-Size Freshwater Fish

Certifying Your Fish By Length and Photo:

Certify a Trophy-Size Fish

  • 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.  

Do you support extending Spring rockfish season into the summer?

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Do you support changing our fall striped bass season dates?

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VSSA letters relating to rockfish:

Striped Bass Letter VMRC 19 Mar 15