HORSESHOE CRAB TRIP LIMIT REDUCTION
Effective 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EDT), Monday, June 12, possession limits for Horseshoe Crab Endorsement License (HCEL) and Restricted Horseshoe Crab License (RHCEL) holders will be reduced by 50%.
Based upon landing reports from VMRC's Interactive Voice Response System, Virginia seafood buyers and VMRC Law Enforcement, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 85 % (129,621 horseshoe crabs) of its yearly quota of 152,495 crabs by the above date and time. Regulation 4 VAC 20 900 10 et seq. establishes that landing of horseshoe crabs by HCEL and RHCEL holders shall be 2,500 crabs and 1,000 crabs, respectively, once 85 % of the quota has been attained and announced.
Therefore, after 6 PM, EDT, June 12, 2006, the possession for HCEL holders shall be 2,500 horseshoe crabs and the possession limit for RHCEL holders shall be 1,000 horseshoe crabs.
All HCEL and RHCEL holders shall continue to contact Marine Resources Operations Station at 1.800.541.4646 prior to offloading any horseshoe crabs. The license holder must contact VMRC's Interactive Voice Response System at 1.800.937.9247 within 24 hours of offloading and provide license number, the time, date, landing location and number of crabs.
Due to the increased participation by HCEL and RHCEL holders and the increase of allowable by-catch of horseshoe crabs from 100 to 500 crabs (as of December 2005), more than the normal amount of horseshoe crabs has been harvested for this time of the year. It is likely the horseshoe crab fishery will be closed very soon.
Vessels seeking safe harbor shall contact the Marine Resources Commission Operations Center in advance of entry into Virginia waters. Any vessel declaring a need for safe harbor may be subject to inspection by the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office.
If you have questions or comments contact Lewis Gillingham at (757) 247 2243.