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Rules and Regulations

Fin Fish Advisory Committee

Oyster / Clam Advisory Committee

Blue Crab Advisory Committee



  • Commercial Oyster license renewals for the 2020-2021 will only be issued by mail. Applications can be either mailed in or dropped through the night drop slot at the Carpenter Building. No in person transactions will be conducted.

  • Covid-19 image

    Updated August 20, 2020

    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 which closed to the public on March 16, 2020, will remain closed to the public until the Maryland and Virginia government closures are lifted, or until the Potomac River Fisheries Commission deems it safe to open the office. 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 via mail during this time. Any questions should be directed to a special HOTLINE: 804-742-0174. Leave your name and number and someone will call you back. Questions can also be e mailed to:

  • The recreational & charter boat season for Striped Bass reopened on August 21st in the main stem of the Potomac (PRFC jurisdiction) with a 2 fish/person/day creel limit and a minimum size of 20”. The season will remain open through December 31st. Good luck to all the anglers and stay safe on the water.
  • Important Notice....New Harry Nice/Mac Middleton Bridge update. Please reference the attached map. Effective immediately (7.16.20), per USCG, an exclusionary zone has been set up for bridge construction activities. All boaters are required to use the main shipping channel for transit up and down river from the bridge(s).

    Map - Click to enlarge

    Additionally, boaters need to remain at least 500 feet north of the existing bridge as indicated by the horizontal red line running across the river and parallel to the existing bridge. Boaters should exercise extreme caution around the four mooring buoys on the map (M1 - M4). Cables run from the mooring buoys to barges and equipment. Any questions related to bridge activities can be directed to 888-994-1415. Calls will be responded to within 24 hours.

  • 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:

  • 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