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Public Notice: Pertaining to Summer Flounder

NOTICE

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on proposed amendments to the regulations listed below.

In accordance with 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the adoption of the proposed amendments will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, February 22, 2000, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia. Written comments on the proposed amendments should be mailed to: Jack Travelstead, VMRC, Fisheries Management Division, P. O. Box 756, Newport News, Virginia 23607. Copies of the proposed amendments may be reviewed at the Commission, Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Persons interested in obtaining a copy of the proposed regulation may call the Commission at (757) 247-2248.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO VMRC REGULATIONS:

1) Regulation 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Summer Flounder." The Commission proposes to amend the recreational flounder minimum size limit, possession limit, and closed seasons from 16 inches, 8 fish, and January 1 through February 29, and July 25 through July 31, respectively, to a new minimum size limit of 15 1/2 inches, an 8 fish possession limit, and a closed season of January 1 through March 28 and July 24 through August 1. The purpose of the proposed amendments is to achieve a 41 percent reduction in the harvest of summer flounder as measured from the 1998 harvest level. These measures comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Summer Flounder.

2) Regulation 4 VAC 20-500-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Catching of Eels." The Commission proposes to establish a 50-eel possession limit for recreational fishermen. The purposes of the amendment are to minimize the probability of excessive recreational harvest, to prevent the circumvention of commercial eel regulations, and to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel.

3) Regulation 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass." The Commission proposes to eliminate the August 1 through August 15 closed recreational fishing season. The Commission also proposes to adjust the commercial fishery trip limits from 11,000 pounds (1st quarter), 7,000 pounds (2nd quarter), 3000 pounds (3rd quarter), and 4,000 pounds (4th quarter) to 9,000 pounds, 3,000 pounds, 2,000 pounds, and 3000 pounds, respectively. The purpose of the amendments is to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Black Sea Bass.

4) Regulation 4 VAC 20-910-et seq., "Pertaining to Scup (Porgy)." The Commission proposes to establish a 50-fish possession limit for recreational scup fisheries and to lower the Winter I commercial trip limit to 10,000 pounds. The purposes of the amendments are to ensure that the recreational and commercial scup quotas are not exceeded and to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Scup.

5) Regulation 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass." The Commission proposes to add the following language: "All striped bass in excess of the maximum number allowed for a licensed recreational fisherman, as described in Sections 4 VAC 20-60 through 4 VAC 20-110, inclusive, in possession of any person, shall be deemed to be possessed for the purpose of sale; all striped bass in possession of a licensed seafood buyer shall be deemed to be possessed for purpose of sale or resale. The possession, by any person, of untagged striped bass in excess of the maximum number allowed a licensed recreational fisherman shall be prima facia evidence of a violation of this regulation." The purpose of the amendment is to improve compliance with the provisions requiring the tagging of rockfish taken for commercial purposes.

6) Regulation 4 VAC 20-430-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Marking and Minimum Mesh Size of Gill Nets." The Commission proposes to amend the regulation to add a requirement that any gill net shall have both end buoys inscribed with the last four numbers of the licensee's Commercial Fisherman Registration License. The Commission proposes further that if a gill net is found in violation of the marking regulation it shall not be confiscated as long as one remaining buoy is inscribed as above. The purpose of the regulation is to minimize the possibility of net seizures.

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VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION DUE TO A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE DEBORAH CAWTHON (757) 247-2248 NO LESS THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING TIME AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEED.

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