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COMMISSION ACTIONS FEBRUARY 26, 2013

NEW FISHERIES STAFFERS SALLY ROMAN AND ANDE EHLEN WERE INTRODUCED TO THE COMMISSION.  THEY WERE HIRED TO FILL VACANT POSITIONS.
[Audio Introduction]

ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS BRYAN PLUMLEE AND BOBBY BECK COULD NOT ATTEND THIS MEETING.

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY, WITHOUT CHANGES.
[Audio Agenda]

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION'S JANUARY MEETING WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER CARTER FOX ABSTAINED.
[Audio Item 1]

2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE 2 ITEMS, DELINEATED IN DETAIL BELOW AS AGENDA ITEMS 2A AND 2B, WERE APPROVED BY CONSENSUS.
[Audio Item 2]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSNONE.
[Audio Item 3]

4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY COUNSEL.  NONE.
[Audio Item 4]

5.  JOSEPH BELL, #12-1705, requests authorization to construct a second, non-commercial open-sided boathouse at his property (116 Cove Drive) situated along Goose Creek in York County.  The project is protested.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED, IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION.
[Audio Item 5]

6.  GRANT ANCARROW, #11-0533, requests a permit modification for after-the-fact authorization to retain a wooden stairway, an upstairs room, two overlook platforms, and additional upstairs flooring that was constructed on a previously permitted, partially sided, non-commercial boathouse adjacent to his property located at 1 Haile Road situated along Piscataway Creek in Essex County.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE AFTER-THE-FACT APPLICATION, BUT STIPULATED THAT THE UPSTAIRS FACILITY BE USED ONLY FOR STORAGE, AND SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED OVERNIGHT USE, THE INSTALLATION OF ELECTRIC, CABLE OR INTERNET LINES, OR FOOD PREPARATION OR FOOD REFRIGERATION CAPABILITIES.  THE COMMISSION ALSO AGREED TO LEVY A $3,000 CIVIL CHARGE IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT ACTION.
[Audio Item 6]

7.  HELEN BIRCH, #12-1183, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain six (6) support piles that were installed to stabilize two (2) existing permitted concrete breakwaters adjacent to her property along Chincoteague Channel at 3708 Main Street in the Town of Chincoteague.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE AFTER-THE-FACT APPLICATION TO RETAIN SIX SUPPORT PILINGS.
[Audio Item 7]

8.  PUBLIC COMMENT.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER RICK ROBINS ASKED THE FISHERIES STAFF TO PREPARE A PRESENTATION FOR THE COMMISSION THAT EXAMINES THE STATUS OF THE STRIPED BASS FISHERY, FOCUSING ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMERCIAL LANDINGS, INCLUDING FISH WEIGHT AND LOCATION OF LANDINGS, RATE OF DISCARDS, AND HOW IT RELATES TO THE INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERABLE QUOTA NOW USED IN THAT COMMERCIAL FISHERY.
[Audio Item 8]

9.  MR. RICKY LEE ZIPP, NOTICE TO COMPLY:  Mr. Ricky Lee Zipp has failed to remove a 1971 Bristol Sloop sail boat #VA 6418 AU that is resting on state bottom after being notified to do so.  This situation is being pursued by MPO J. A. Copperthite of the Law Enforcement Division.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO ORDER THE OWNER TO REMOVE THE SUNKEN VESSEL FROM STATE-OWNED WATER BOTTOM BY MARCH 26 OR FACE COURT ACTION TO COMPEL REMOVAL AND POTENTIAL DAILY FINES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE.
[Audio Item 9]

10.  DISCUSSION:  A Review of Law Enforcement assets and response to oyster poaching.  VIRGINIA MARINE POLICE CHIEF RICK LAUDERMAN BRIEFED THE COMMISSION ON A LAW ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE THAT HAS RESULTED IN THE ISSUANCE OF 393 COMMERCIAL OYSTER VIOLATIONS OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, WHICH IS TRIPLE THE USUAL NUMBER.  THE CHIEF SAID MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE, BUT THE MARINE POLICE FORCE IS STRAINING TO DO SO AS A RESULT OF VACANCIES DUE TO STATE BUDGET REDUCTIONS OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS.
STAFF IS WORKING ON A PROPOSAL TO BRING SOME VIOLATORS BEFORE THE COMMISSION FOR SANCTIONS STEMMING FROM A FIRST OFFENSE OF THE VIOLATION IS EGREGIOUS.  CURRENTLY, SANCTIONS ARE CONSIDERED ON A THIRD OFFENSE WITHIN A 12-MONTH PERIOD.
IF OYSTER VIOLATIONS DON'T DECLINE, COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD SAID HARVESTERS MAY BE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ELECTRONIC VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEM, AS IS DONE IN SOME FEDERAL FISHERIES.  STAFF IS RESEARCHING THE COST.

[Audio Item 10]
Commissioner Travelstead formed a subcommittee to examine law enforcement issues, and appointed Associate Commissioners Lynn Haynie, Rick Robins and Joe Palmer to it.
[Audio Law Enforcement Subcommittee Appointment]

11.  PUBLIC HEARING:  To consider two proposals to utilize the Marine Fishing Improvement Fund: the Virginia Marine Products Board Proposal for Continuing to Test Market Chesapeake (Cownose) Ray, and, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Proposal to determine male cownose ray movement after mating in the Chesapeake Bay.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY THE EXPENDITURE OF $82,300 FOR THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF A COWNOSE RAY MARKET AND A SCIENTIFIC STUDY BY THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE ON THE POST-MATING MOVEMENTS OF MALE COWNOSE RAYS.
COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD NOTED THE MONEY IS AVAILABLE THIS YEAR FROM UNUSED 2012 FUNDS IN THE MARINE FISHING IMPROVEMENT FUNDS, BUT WARNED FUNDING FOR THESE PROJECTS MAY BE UNAVAILABLE NEXT YEAR, AND IN FUTURE YEARS, BECAUSE THE AGENCY MAY NEED TO USE IT TO PAY FOR STAFF POSITIONS THAT ARE IN JEOPARDY FROM THE LOSS OF FEDERAL GRANTS.

[Audio Item 11]

12.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed adoption of emergency amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-950-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass", to lower the recreational black sea bass fishery possession limit of 25 fish to 15 fish, through the end of February 2013, in order to comply with the interstate fishery management plan requirements for black sea bass.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CONTINUE A 15-FISH CREEL LIMIT FOR RECREATIONAL BLACK SEA BASS, WHICH WAS ADOPTED AS AN EMERGENCY MEASURE IN JANUARY AS REQUIRED BY THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION.
[Audio Item 12]

13.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-620-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Summer Flounder," to establish the 2013 recreational fishery management measures; and to consider an industry request to increase the current landing limit of 10,000 pounds, from the commercial summer flounder fishery outside of Virginia, to 12,500 pounds, per 15-day landing period, effective the first Monday in March.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO LOWER THE RECREATIONAL FLOUNDER SIZE LIMIT FOR THE FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW, FROM 16.5 INCHES TO 16 INCHES FOR 2013.  THIS ALLOWS ANGLERS TO KEEP MORE OF THE FLOUNDER THEY CATCH. THE CREEL LIMIT OF FOUR FISH WILL REMAIN UNCHANGED, AND THERE WILL BE NO CLOSED SEASON.  THE MOVE DROPS THE RECREATIONAL FLOUNDER SIZE LIMITS TO ITS LOWEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN A DECADE, SINCE 2001.
[Audio Item 13]

14.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-530-10 et seq., "Pertaining to American Shad" to consider the establishment of a limited permitting system, for the American shad bycatch allowance fishery, to comply with interstate management plan requirements and to assign fishing permits in a fair and equitable manner.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED A FIVE-YEAR COMMERCIAL AMERICAN SHAD BYCATCH ALLOWANCE WITH A MAXIMUM OF 30 PERMITS A YEAR AND TOTAL ANNUAL LANDINGS OF 500 FISH.
[Audio Item 14]

15.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing" to define barrel limits that correspond with previously establish bushel limits for the upcoming 2013 crab pot season that begins March 16, 2013; and, to consider establishing per trip vessel limits for the crab harvest.  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting" to consider options to limit the use of agents in the crab pot and peeler pot fisheries.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO SET DAILY BARREL LIMITS FOR THE 2013 COMMERCIAL CRAB SEASON THAT CORRESPOND TO THE DAILY BUSHEL LIMITS THAT WERE APPROVED LAST MONTH.
THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED TO CAP THE NUMBER OF AGENTS USED AT 2012 LEVELS, WITH AN ADDITIONAL 10 PERCENT BUFFER FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEWLY TRANSFERRED CRAB LICENSES OR WHO HAVE APPLIED FOR TRANSFERS.  THIS WAS RECOMMENDED BY THE CRAB MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
THE COMMISSION VOTED 4-2 (WITH ASSOCIATE MEMBERS LYNN HAYNIE AND ED TANKARD VOTING NO) TO SET A VESSEL HARVEST AND POSSESSION LIMIT EQUAL TO THE LARGEST LEGAL BUSHEL LIMIT OF LICENSE HOLDERS ON BOARD.  THE CRAB MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ENDORSE THIS ACTION.

[Audio Item 15][Audio Rob O'Reilly's Comment] [Audio Commissioner Jack Travelstead's Comment]

16.  FAILURE TO REPORT:  Cases involving failure to report commercial harvests, in accordance with Chapter 4VAC20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting".  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PUT A COMMERCIAL WATERMAN ON PROBATION FOR TWO YEARS FOR FAILING TO REPORT HIS HARVEST IN A TIMELY MANNER, AS REQUIRED.
[Audio Item 16]

17.  REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING:  Request to establish regulations pertaining to Atlantic menhaden, to comply with requirements established by HB2254/SB1291 and Amendment 2 to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND A VOTE AT ITS MARCH MEETING TO ENACT A VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY-APPROVED FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR MENHADEN THAT REDUCES THE STATE'S LANDINGS BY 20 PERCENT, AS REQUIRED BY THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION.
[Audio Item 17]

THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS (PROJECTS OVER $500,000 WITH NO OBJECTIONS AND WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL) WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A.  CITY OF NORFOLK, #12-1623, requests authorization to replace a derelict timber groin at Sarah Constant Beach Park with a rock/sheet pile groin that will extend approximately 115 feet channelward of mean low water, to include a temporary mooring buoy adjacent to the work site, and to include the placement of approximately 6,250 cubic yards of material channelward of mean low water as beach nourishment, from approximately 3rd View Street to Ocean View Beach Park situated along Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk.

2B.  CHESAPEAKE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #11-0012, requests authorization to modify their existing permit for the construction of new north and south bound fixed-span bridges along Dominion Boulevard (U.S.Route 17) crossing over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River to include installation of two (2) temporary falsework towers, each comprised of eight (8) 30-inch diameter pipe piles, beams and tower sections, and a temporary 30-foot wide by 190-foot long open-pile trestle pier to allow construction access to work barges. 

PAGE THREE CONSENT AGENDA ITEM:

NONE.


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