Fishing on the Potomac River

The Commission

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission (Commission) is the Maryland-Virginia bi-state regulatory authority for fishery matters in the mainstem tidal Potomac River from Washington, DC to the Chesapeake Bay. The Commission is comprised of eight members, four appointed by the governor of Maryland and four appointed by the governor of Virginia.

The Commission is responsible for adopting the rules, regulations and licenses for the recreational and commercial taking, catching or attempting to take or catch fish, crabs, oysters and clams from the Potomac River. The Commission regulations carry the full force and effect of law and are jointly enforced by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Marine Police. Both the Maryland District Courts and Virginia General District Courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate violations of the Commission’s regulations.

The Commission meets four to six times each year and most meetings are held in the Commissioner’s Hearing Room at its office in Colonial Beach, VA. All Commission meetings are open and the public is invited and encouraged to attend. The Commission also has three citizen advisory committees, one for finfish matters, one for crab issues, and one for oyster and clam concerns. These committee meetings are, likewise, open public meetings and are held in Colonial Beach, VA.

The Commissioners
  • AJ Erskine, Chairman
  • S. Lynn Haynie, Vice Chariman
  • Phil L. Langley, Secretary
  • Dave Blazer of Maryland
  • Dennis C. Fleming of Maryland
  • William L. Rice, Sr. of Maryland
  • Ida C. Hall of Virginia
  • John M.R. Bull of Virginia

NOTE: At present, we are not posting the home mailing addresses of Commission Members. The Commission Secretary will forward any mail or messages sent to:

Potomac River Fisheries Commission
PO Box 9
Colonial Beach, VA 22443

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).