A. Beginning January 1 of any given year it
shall be unlawful for any person to possess on board a vessel or to land in
Virginia more than a combined total of 36 commercially permitted aggregated
large coastal sharks and commercially permitted hammerhead sharks in one
24-hour period, unless the Marine Resources Commission has posted notice of any
change to possession limits on its website at
[File Link Not Available]. The person who owns or operates the vessel is
responsible for compliance with the provisions of this subsection.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person to
fillet a shark until that shark is offloaded at the dock or on shore, except
smooth dogfish as provided in subsection C of this section. A licensed
commercial fisherman may eviscerate and remove the head of any shark, but the
tail and all fins of any shark, except smooth dogfish as provided in subsection
C of this section, shall remain naturally attached to the carcass through
landing. The fins of any shark, except smooth dogfish, may be partially cut but
some portion of the fin shall remain attached, until the shark is
C. Virginia licensed
commercial fishermen may completely process smooth dogfish at sea prior to
landing when the harvest of smooth dogfish comprises at least 25% by weight of
the total retained harvest, except that it shall be unlawful for anyone to land
or possess on board any vessel any amount of processed smooth dogfish whereby
the total weight of fins exceeds 12% of the total dressed weight of any smooth
D. It shall be unlawful to
possess, on board a vessel, or to land in Virginia any species of shark, after
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries has closed
the fishery for that species in federal waters.
E. There are no commercial trip limits or
possession limits for smooth dogfish or sharks on the lists of commercially
permitted pelagic species or commercially permitted nonblacknose
Except as described in
this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to take, harvest, land, or
possess in Virginia any blacktip, bull, great hammerhead, lemon, nurse,
scalloped hammerhead, silky, smooth hammerhead, spinner, or tiger shark from
May 15 through July 15. These sharks may be transported by vessel, in Virginia
waters, during the closed season provided the sharks were caught in a legal
manner consistent with federal regulations outside Virginia waters and:
1. The vessel does not engage in fishing in
Virginia waters while possessing the species listed in this subsection;
2. All fishing gear aboard the
vessel is stowed and not available for immediate use.
G. It shall be unlawful for any person to
retain, possess, or purchase any commercially prohibited shark or any research
only shark, except as provided in subsection I of this section.
H. All sharks harvested from state waters or
federal waters, for commercial purposes, shall only be sold to a federally
permitted shark dealer.
commissioner may grant exemptions from the seasonal closure, quota, possession
limit, size limit, gear restrictions, and prohibited species restrictions.
Exemptions shall be granted only for display or research purposes. Any person
granted an exemption for the harvest of any shark for research or display shall
report the species, weight, location caught, and gear used for each shark
collected within 30 days. Any person granted a permit to possess any shark for
research or display shall provide the commissioner on an annual basis
information on the location and status of the shark throughout the life of the
4 Va. Admin. Code § 20-490-41
Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue
8, eff. December 1, 2005; amended, Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 14, eff.
March 1, 2009; Volume 26, Issue 6, eff. November 1, 2009; Volume 26, Issue 14,
eff. March 1, 2010; Errata, 26:16 VA.R. April 12, 2010; amended, Virginia
Register Volume 27, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2011; Amended, Virginia Register
Volume 30, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2014; Amended, Virginia Register Volume
30, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2014; Amended,
Register Volume 32, Issue 15, eff.
Register Volume 33, Issue 06, eff.
Register Volume 34, Issue 19, eff.
Statutory Authority: §
of the Code of Virginia.