achieved by a commission comprised of representatives of both Maryland and Virginia. That agreement lead to the adoption of the Maryland and Virginia Potomac River Compact of 1958 (Compact) which created the Potomac River Fisheries Commission and charged it with the establishment and maintenance of a program to conserve and improve these resources.
The adoption of the Maryland and Virginia Potomac River Compact of 1958 and the establishment of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission were in direct response to the historical battles between the fishermen and the law enforcement during the late 1940’s and most of the 1950’s.
The Maryland and Virginia legislatures adopted the Compact, but enactment was delayed because the Compact was petitioned to statewide referendum in Maryland. Following its passage by the citizens of Maryland it was submitted to the United States Congress for ratification. President John F. Kennedy signed the enabling legislation in December 1962. The Potomac River Fisheries Commission held the first meeting January 10, 1963.
Today, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) regulates the fisheries of the main stem of the tidal Potomac River from the Maryland/Washington D.C. boundary line (near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge), to the mouth of the river at Point Lookout, MD and Smith Point, VA. The PRFC regulates all recreational and commercial fishing, crabbing, oystering and clamming in the main stem tidal Potomac River, and issues licenses for those activities.
The Potomac River Fisheries Commission coordinates regulations with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources(DNR), the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, (DGIF) and with the other Atlantic coastal states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).