Commercial Fishing

Commercial oyster fishermen

Commercial Fishing is the taking or catching or attempted taking or catching of seafood (oysters, crabs, finfish or soft shell clams) for market or profit. The taking of crabs by crab pot; finfish by use of nets (other than dip nets), seines, trot lines, hook & lines or pots; soft shell clams by means of hydraulic dredge; and the taking of fee paying persons to catch or attempt to catch fish, crabs, oyster, or clams, shall all be deemed a commercial action requiring a license issued by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, except as provided by the sport or household use provisions. (Reg. I, Section 5(a))

Commercial License Registration Fee, Any person who purchases a PRFC commercial fish, crab, clam or oyster license after July 1st each year shall first be registered with the Commission for a fee of $150.00. This registration fee must be paid in full, in addition to the published license fees, and prior to any commercial license being issued. Only one registration fee per person is required per year (July 1st thru June 30th next). (Reg. I, Section 2)

Weekly Seafood Catch Reports. Except licensed charter boat captains, every person licensed by the Commission and engaged in the business of taking or catching crabs or finfish; every captain or operator of a boat licensed with "OT" or "HS" tags and every soft-shell clam dredge licensee, shall keep an accurate and complete daily account of his or his boat's catches and dealings on forms to be supplied or furnished by the Commission. Such daily records of the catches and dealings shall be delivered to, or mailed in time to arrive at, the Commission Office no later than Thursday of the following week.

Commission Orders and Policies. The Commission may from time to time issue Orders of the Commission. The Orders of the Commission shall have the same force, effect, be published, and be enforceable and punishable in the same method and manner as regulations of the Commission. (Reg. I, Section 7(a)) Click here for Commission Orders and Policies

Open and Closed Areas. The Commission may, by appropriate Order, whenever it deems necessary open or close the entire River, or any parts thereof, to the taking, catching or removing of oysters, clams, crabs, or finfish; either for certain periods of time or days of the week, or as to the limits, the methods or means of taking same, or any combination of such actions. (Reg. I, Section 8(a))

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission coordinates regulations with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, (DWR) and with the other Atlantic coastal states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). .