What To Do If You Catch a Tagged Saltwater Fish in Virginia

Welcome to the Fish Whisper community, where we share our passion for the sea and its inhabitants. Today, we’re diving into the important topic of what to do if you reel in a tagged saltwater fish while fishing in the beautiful waters of Virginia.

Understanding the Significance of Tagged Fish

Tagging programs are crucial for the conservation and management of marine finfish. They provide scientists with valuable data on fish migration patterns, growth rates, and survival. By participating in these programs, you’re contributing to the sustainability of our fishing resources.

Step-by-Step Guide on Handling Tagged Fish

Caught a tagged fish? Here’s how to handle the situation with respect for the fish and the environment:

  1. Record the Tag Information: Note the tag number, the species of the fish, and the location of your catch.
  2. Measure the Fish: If possible, measure the length of the fish to provide additional data for researchers.
  3. Report Your Catch: Contact the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program or report online. Provide them with the information you’ve recorded.
  4. Release or Keep: If the fish meets legal size regulations and you wish to keep it, you may do so. Otherwise, release it carefully back into the water.

Why Your Participation Matters

Every report from anglers like you is a piece of the puzzle in understanding our marine ecosystems. By reporting tagged fish, you’re not only enjoying the thrill of the catch but also playing a role in the stewardship of our aquatic world.

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Share your experiences, get weekly fishing reports, and watch fishing adventures on our Video Library. Let’s bridge the communication gap between fish and fish enthusiasts, fostering a community that’s informed, respectful, and full of adventure.

Remember, “Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.” But when you do catch that tagged fish, you’re part of a much bigger story. Thank you for fishing responsibly and for being an integral part of the Fish Whisper community.


In Virginia, catching a tagged saltwater fish is more than just a personal achievement; it’s a chance to contribute to a larger cause. Follow these guidelines, respect the rules, and embrace the adventure. Together, we can ensure a sustainable future for the sport we love.

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