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Rules and Regulations

Fin Fish Advisory Committee

Oyster / Clam Advisory Committee

Blue Crab Advisory Committee



  • Special Notice: Covid-19 response: Due to the evolving conditions related to the spread of the Novel Corona Virus and the disease it creates, Covid-19, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission office is closed to the public, and the closure will remain in place until the State of Emergencies in Maryland and Virginia are lifted, or until the Commission deems it safe to do so. The closure is being conducted consistent with actions taken in MD & VA, and is intended to minimize impacts of the disease to both PRFC staff, and our customers. PRFC will conduct business transactions only via mail during this time. Any questions should be directed to a special HOTLINE: 804-742-0174. Questions can also be e mailed to

  • PRFC has received inquiries related to.........Is fishing is allowed in PRFC jurisdictional waters? A: Fishing from shore or boats are allowed, so long as there are no more than 10 individuals on the boat or group. This is related to activities for subsistence. All applicable PRFC fishery management rules and regulations apply. PRFC regulates the fishery resources and exploitation of those resources for its defined geographical jurisdiction, but not the actual efficacy of the physical activities on the water (fishing, boating etc.). The activities are dictated by the State of Maryland which owns the Potomac River to the MLW on the Virginia shoreline. Consistent with the statutory ownership of the Potomac River by the State of Maryland, all rules related to fishing activity should follow Maryland procedures during Covid-19 measures. For a list of frequently asked questions related to Covid-19 activities, see:
  • Striped Bass 2020 Season Specifications Set The Potomac River Fisheries Commission adopted the following Striped Bass measures for the 2020 season Effective March 16, 2020....

    *Recreational Fishery – 20.5% reduction

    Spring Season 35” TL min; 1 fish/person/day (incl. charter capt); Downstream of Rt. 301 Bridge; Open May 1 – 15

    Summer/Fall Fishery - 20” min 2 fish/person/day with No direct targeting during closed season, open May 16 – July 6, closed July 7 through Aug. 20, open Aug. 21 - Dec. 31

    *Commercial fishery 1.8% reduction from 2017 quota

  • Notice: Request for Proposals
    PRFC RFP #2020 1A

    The Potomac River Fisheries Commission is seeking proposals to plant James River Oyster Seed on Lower Cedar Point Oyster Special Management Area (LCP SMA). Time frame is through May 15, 2020. Total volume is up to 10,000 bushels and not to exceed $100,000. Prospective proposals will be inclusive of transportation from the James River Seed Production Area to LCP SMA. All seed is subject to random seed counts, and the PRFC has the right to refuse seed with low seed counts from mortality and other factors. Proposals should be sent to martingary.prfc@gmail no later that 4:30 PM on March 23, 2020/

  • Bluefish....the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) approved new recreational fishing regulations for the 2020 Atlantic bluefish fishery from Florida to Maine. These measures, which include a 3-fish bag limit for private anglers and shore-based fishermen and a 5-fish bag limit for for-hire fishermen, represent a substantial reduction compared to the federal 15-fish bag limit that has been in place since 2000. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). This includes the waters under of the tidal Potomac River. The most recent operational assessment of the Atlantic bluefish stock concluded that the stock is overfished but not experiencing overfishing. During their joint meeting in October, the Council and Commission adopted a recreational harvest limit (RHL) of 9.48 million pounds for 2020 and 2021, which is an 18% decrease compared to the 2019 RHL. Using the current regulations, the recreational sector is projected to land 13.27 million pounds, which will exceed the RHL by 28.56%. Therefore, the Council and Commission met last week to approve new recreational management measures to constrain harvest to the reduced RHL.
  • Attention Blue Catfish commercial harvesters. The following letter was sent out to fish trot line and fish pot licensees to allow them to identify prospective buyers of commercially caught Blue Catfish in PRFC waters. This list includes those buyers we are aware of, but there may be others. We can add others to the list if their information is made available to us.

PRFC History
and Mission Statement

fishing at sunset
The states of Maryland and Virginia are both vitally interested in conserving and improving the valuable fishery resources of the tidewater portion of the Potomac River, maintaining law and order and peace and safety on the river, and recognizing that certain provisions of the Maryland-Virginia Compact of 1785 had become obsolete, agreed in 1958 that such conservation and improvement could be best achieved by a commission comprised of representatives of both Maryland and Virginia. Read more