VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION
The Virginia General Assembly delegated power to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) to exercise regulatory authority over state-owned bottomlands throughout the entire Commonwealth. VMRC is the main regulatory body for the leasing and permitting of aquaculture related activities in Virginia (leases, gear restrictions, harvest reporting, etc). VMRC’s goals include reducing navigation issues, limiting shellfish contamination, preserving Virginia waters and the living creatures within them, and limiting user conflicts. Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia covers fisheries and habitat of the Commonwealth’s tidal waters. And, Title 4, Agency 20 of the Virginia Administrative Code contains VMRC regulations which provide additional detail. Both the Virginia Code and Virginia Administrative Code are available online and keyword searches are available to help users navigate the provisions.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DIVISION OF SHELLFISH SAFETY
The Virginia Department of Health Division of Shellfish Safety (VDH DSS) conducts activities associated with water quality monitoring, growing area assessment, education, and regulatory programs to protect the health of shellfish consumers. Title 28.2, Chapter 8 of the Code of Virginia includes health and sanitation provisions for the Commonwealth’s tidal fisheries. And, Title 12, Agency 5 of the Virginia Administrative Code contains VDH DSS regulations which provide additional detail. Both the Virginia Code and Virginia Administrative Code are available online and keyword searches are available to help users navigate the provisions.
Army Corps of Engineers
Shellfish Aquaculture is also permitted under the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Nationwide and Regional Permits. VMRC streamlines the Federal compliance for shellfish growers.
Sea Grant Law Center Fact Sheet: Shellfish Aquaculture Permitting Under Nationwide Permit 48
2021 Nationwide Permit 48 – Commercial Shellfish Mariculture
- Regional Permit 19 (RP), authorizes living shorelines, riprap revetments, bulkheads, breakwaters, groins, jetties, spurs, baffles, aquaculture
activities and boat ramps.
National Shellfish Sanitation Program
The NSSP is the federal/state cooperative program recognized by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption. The ISSC sets the National shellfish sanitation guidelines individual states must follow to regulate the harvesting, processing, and shipping of shellfish.
- 2019 Model Ordinance (complete list of guidelines for harvesting, processing, and shipping of shellfish)