Following a 4 1/2 hour debate, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) recently voted to not close the recreational cobia season in June, as requested by the National Marine Fisheries Service following unexpectedly high catch rates last year. Virginia’s 2016 cobia season will close on August 30, according to VMRC.
VMRC voted to increase the size limit from 37 to 40 inches, kept a one-fish per person possession limit, and instituted a two-fish daily vessel limit, allowing only one of those fish to be more than 50 inches, for all vessels including for-hire (charter and head boats). VMRC also prohibited the gaffing of cobia by recreational anglers.
VMRC will also begin a reporting system for recreational anglers to report their cobia catches to the agency.
VMRC had been requested by the National Marine Fisheries Service to close the 2016 recreational cobia fishery on June 20 because federal data showed the Georgia-New York allowable recreational catch of cobia was greatly exceeded in 2015.
source: Virginia Marine Resources Commission