As we enter the third week of March, local Virginia fishermen are striving to catch their quota of rockfish, while Maryland’s rock fishing season remains closed until June 1st. These fishermen face the challenge of catching their allotment before the fish move past them or regulations change. This week, all rivers in Virginia have imposed a size limit, prohibiting the catch of fish larger than 28 inches. Many fishermen may choose not to tag smaller fish, opting instead to gear up to go crabbing.
As the volume of fish on the market begins to decrease, prices typically increase in late March and early April. Fishermen on the oceanside of Virginia’s Eastern Shore will target migratory rockfish leaving the Bay after spawning in early April. Simultaneously, Delaware Bay fishermen will gear up to catch rockfish as the market prices rise, adapting to both the changing regulations and market dynamics.