The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the establishment of amendments to regulations, as proposed below. By March 9, 2015, the proposed draft regulations can be viewed at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia.
In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held at 12:00 noon, on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia. Public comments on the proposals should be provided to Robert L. O’Reilly, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607, by 12:00 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2015.
Chapter 4 VAC 20-20-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Licensing of Fixed Fishing Devices”.
The Commission proposes to amend gear management measures and definitions pertaining to pound nets, to include the year round use of modified pound net leaders for offshore Virginia pound nets in the federal bottlenose dolphin pound net regulated area, the seasonal use of modified pound net leaders in federal pound net area 2, and modified compliance requirements. Currently, the seasonal use of modified pound net leaders in federal pound net area 1 and east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is required.
The purpose of these amendments is to comply with the federal Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan and its implementing regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act
Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass”.
A. The Commission will consider conservation equivalent proposals to maintain a 25% reduction from 2013 harvest for the annual coastal recreational fishery for striped bass. Currently there is a one fish possession limit with a 28-inch minimum size limit for the coastal recreational fishery for striped bass. The proposals are as follows:
1. Maintain the current one fish possession limit with a 28-inch size limit;
2. Establish a two fish possession limit with a 33-inch minimum size limit;
3. Establish a two fish possession limit, with 1 fish allowed with a minimum size limit of 28 inches and a maximum size limit of 34 inches and 1 fish allowed with a 36 inch minimum size limit; or,
4. Establish a two fish possession limit, with 1 fish allowed with a minimum size limit of 28 inches and a maximum size limit of 36 inches, and 1 fish allowed with a 38 inch minimum size-limit.
B. The Commission will consider a conservation equivalent measure that complies with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for recreational striped bass fishery in the Chesapeake Bay, that establishes a 20.5% reduction from the 2012 recreational harvest and raises the current recreational minimum size limit from 18-inches to 20-inches, for the May 16 through June 15 and October 4 through December 31 recreational fishing seasons.
1. Staff proposes it shall be unlawful to possess Maryland tags for striped bass, or striped bass affixed with Maryland tags, onboard any vessel in Virginia tidal waters.
2. Staff proposes to redefine the lawful area for possession of either Virginia or Potomac River Fisheries Commission striped bass tags.
3. Staff proposes it shall be unlawful to possess both Virginia striped bass tags and Potomac River Fisheries Commission striped bass tags simultaneously onboard any vessel in Virginia tidal waters.
D. Staff proposes it shall be unlawful for any person fishing commercially to harvest striped bass by any method other than gill net, pound net, haul seine, fyke net, or commercial hook-and-line.
E. Staff proposes to modify the dates for permanent and temporary commercial transfers of individual striped bass weight quotas.
The purpose of these amendments is to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan requirements for striped bass and to promote the welfare of the commercial and recreational striped bass industries.
4VAC 20-650-10 et seq., “Establishment of Oyster Sanctuary Areas”
The Commission will consider amendments to designate all unassigned or vacant submerged bottom, condemned by the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation and classified as either “restricted” or “prohibited” for the direct harvest of shellfish, as oyster sanctuaries, and these condemned grounds shall not be leased.
The purpose of this amendment is to promote the welfare of the commercial oyster industry.
4VAC 20-720-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest”
On February 24, 2015 the Virginia Marine Resources Commission adopted, under its emergency regulatory authority (Section 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia), amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., suspending the sale of any oyster hand scrape and oyster dredge gear, until the Commission reinstates the sale of those licenses. That suspension will be considered as a permanent part of the regulation. Staff also proposes this licenses suspension only apply to those individuals who had not previously purchased either of these oyster gear licenses, in any calendar year, prior to February 24, 2015
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THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS DUE TO A
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