View Full Version : Bay/Ocean Demarkation for Stripers

01-15-2008, 07:58 AM
At last nights meeting, several folks asked about striper regulations. Virginia Code (4 VAC 20-252-20) defines the line between bay and coastal season as:

"Coastal area" means the area that includes Virginia's portion of the Territorial Sea, plus all of the creeks, bays, inlets, and tributaries on the seaside of Accomack County, Northampton County (including areas east of the causeway from Fisherman Island to the mainland), and the City of Virginia Beach (including federal areas and state parks, fronting on the Atlantic Ocean and east and south of the point where the shoreward boundary of the Territorial Sea joins the mainland at Cape Henry)."

The regulation may be found at this link: CHAPTER: PERTAINING TO THE TAKING OF STRIPED BASS (

I have attached the map from the VMRC web site.
REGULATION: Striped Bass Map (

As far as Federal Waters go, the easiest way to see where you can fish near the mouth of the bay is to look at chart 12221, Chesapeake Bay Entrance. Here is a link to an online version of the chart: Chart 12221 ( There is a series of grey lines denoting the Territorial Sea Baseline, the Three Mile Limit, and the 12 mile limit (Territirial Sea Limit). The Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ starts at the three mile limit. If you are outside of the grey line marking the three mile limit and you are either fishing for striped bass or have any onboard, you are in violation of federal law. If you fish up towards Wachapreague and launched at Rudee, be careful that you do not go outside of the three mile limit with stripers onboard. You could be fined. I do not believe the Coast Guard will allow you to transit through the EEZ with striped bass onboard, since possession is clearly prohibited in the federal regulations. This is different than Virginia, which will allow you to transit the bay area with stripers onboard if you are not engaged in fishing.

It is no coincidence that the blue line on the VMRC chart is the same line as the territorial sea baseline on chart 12221.....So, if you are using that chart, or your GPS chartplotter shows the territorial sea baseline and the three mile limit (mine does!!), you should alway know if you are legal.

Hope this helps,


01-15-2008, 08:24 AM
Thanks Stan! Very good information.

01-15-2008, 09:20 AM
Thanks Stan always thought it was lighthouse to lighthouse.