This paper presents a contribution related to the control of nonlinear variable-speed marine current turbine (MCT) without pitch operating below the rated marine current speed. Given that the operation of the MCT can be divided into several operating zones on the basis of the marine current speed, the system control objectives are different for each zone. To deal with this issue, we develop a new control approach based on a linear quadratic regulator with variable generator torque. Our proposed approach enables the optimization of the rotational speed of the turbine, which maximizes the power extracted by the MCT and minimizes the transient loads on the drivetrain. The novelty of our study is the use of a real profile of marine current speed from the northern coasts of Morocco. The simulation results obtained using MATLAB Simulink indicate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed control approach on the electrical and mechanical parameters with the variations of marine current speed.