The Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ronald W. Owens as its new Executive Secretary. Mr. Owens brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to fisheries management and conservation to his new role, making him a valuable addition to the PRFC team.

Ronald understands the vital role of responsible fisheries management in maintaining the ecological balance of our water bodies. His passion aligns perfectly with the PRFC's mission, and he is eager to contribute to the organization's ongoing efforts to conserve and improve the Potomac River Fishery Resources. His background includes 30 years of experience in fisheries management, environmental and ecosystem management, overseeing regulatory compliance activities, shaping fisheries and natural resource laws and regulations, and safeguarding the well-being of our natural resources.

Adding to Ronald's background, he hails from a long line of boat builders and working watermen, with his family deeply rooted in the fish, crab, and oyster industry spanning over three generations. This heritage has instilled in him a profound appreciation for the rich traditions and sustainable practices that underpin the vitality of aquatic ecosystems and the livelihoods of those who depend on them. Ronald's personal connection to the industry reinforces his commitment to the mission of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission and its crucial role in preserving these valuable resources.

As Executive Secretary, Ronald is ready to provide the PRFC with effective leadership, strategic planning, and efficient coordination. His track record in these areas positions him well to guide the professional staff in managing all Commission affairs effectively and efficiently.

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission is excited to welcome Ronald as its new Executive Secretary, and looks forward to the positive impact he will make in furthering the Commission's goals and initiatives.

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Regulations Book

Commission Orders and Policies

Fin Fish Advisory Committee

Oyster / Clam Advisory Committee

Blue Crab Advisory Committee


Quarterly Commission Meeting Thursday, December 14, 2023 @ 8:30 a.m.

The PRFC office will be closed between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Closing Early (at noon) Dec. 22, Closed on Dec. 25 and 26.

Contact Information
Physical Address: 222 Taylor Street
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 9
Colonial Beach, VA 22443

Office: (804) 224-7148
After Hours: (804) 214-6616

Fax: (804) 224-2712
Hours: 8:30 am -- 4:30pm Monday - Friday

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  • Potomac River Oyster Wars Marker
    On Friday, December 15, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., there will be an unveiling of a Virginia Department of Historical Highway Marker near Castlewood Park, 1335 Monroe Bay Ave, Colonial Beach, VA 22443, documenting the Potomac River Oyster Wars.

    About the Marker:

    The historical marker will be placed on Lunsford Point near Castlewood Park to document the Potomac River Oyster Wars, the death of Berkeley Muse, and the establishment of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.

    During the Potomac River Oyster Wars disputes fueled violence between local watermen and Maryland’s fisheries police for many decades. Conflicts escalated after World War II as watermen violated Maryland law by dredging, rather than tonging, for oysters. When detected, they raced toward shallow waters with armed patrol boats in pursuit. After Maryland officers killed Berkeley Muse in April 1959, the fisheries police underwent extensive reforms, and the two states and the federal government finalized an agreement to regulate the river. In 1962, the U.S. Congress created the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, bringing an end to the era of violence. This will be the 1st DHR Historical Highway Marker in the Town of Colonial Beach.

    The PRFC office will be closed between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on this day so that staff may attend this unveiling.

  • One PRFC Commercial Hook & Line for lottery:
    1. Starting 11/1/2023 Ending 1/31/2024
    2. To enter:
      • Submit your full name and mailing address
      • Non-refundable registration fee: $100
    3. One entry per person and must be at least 14 years old.
    4. Entries will be accepted in person at the PRFC office or via mail
    5. Entries received in our office after the COB on January 31, 2024, will not be accepted. Postmarks do not count.

    If you need further information, please contact our office during regular business hours.


    In April 2023, the Commission took action to eliminate the free sport crabbing regulation in the Potomac River by amending Reg. VI, Sections 4(a), 4(b), 4(c), 4(d), and 4(e). Beginning in 2024, ALL individuals desiring to sport crab in the Potomac River will need to purchase a $30 license. The new license structure eliminated the boat license and eliminated allowing individuals to have 2 pots/person in the Potomac River without a license. The only exemption to requiring a sport crabbing license is to private landowners (See Reg. VI, Sec. 4(a) for details and qualifications).

  • To All Gill Net, Pound Net, and Fyke Net Licensees:
    At this time, we are requesting that all individuals that need to move a current fixed net location, or obtain a new fixed net location, first make an appointment. This appointment request applies to gill nets, fyke nets, or pound nets only. If you walk-in, there may not be a staff member available to complete this transaction. Please call our office at (804) 224-7148, during business hours, M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  • Effective 11.1.2022, ALL commercial striped bass tags must be picked up in our office during normal business hours. If you are unable to pick up your striped bass tags yourself, you are required to complete the Designee Form and have your designee bring it with them. We will not accept phone calls to verify permission to pick up striped bass tags. Due to raising postage costs, the option to mail striped bass tags is no longer available.

  • PRFC Finfish Advisory Committee Vacancy for a Lower River Recreational Maryland fisherman. If you, or someone you know, who would be interested in filling this vacancy, please complete the nomination form and submit it via mail, email (, or dropping it off in person at the Commission office. This position is a four year term and will remain vacant until filled.

  • You may have noticed that we added a new feature to our website. The PRFC Chat box is now available for you to use during normal PRFC business hours. Designated staff will respond to your chat request as soon as we see it. If we are not available to receive a chat message, or if received over the weekend or on a holiday, please leave your email, inquiry, and phone number if desired, and we will get back to you shortly.

  • A new GIS based map highlighting oyster bars and artificial reefs in the Potomac is now available at:

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


PRFC Fin Fish Harvest Report