The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposed regulations listed below.
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, January 27, 2009, at the Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia. Written comments on the proposals should be mailed to Jack Travelstead, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607, by 5:00 p.m., Monday, January 26, 2009. Copies of the proposed regulations may be reviewed, at the Commission, Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and may be obtained by calling the Commission at (757) 247-2248.
1. Chapter 4VAC20-490-et seq. "Pertaining to Sharks"
The Commission proposes to amend this regulation to comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Interstate Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks.
Proposed Recreational fishing measures include but are not limited to the establishment of a seasonal closure; modification to the lists of permitted and prohibited species of shark; a requirement that all species of shark must have head, tail and fins attached through landing; and the establishment of a definition for shore angler versus boat angler for the purpose of establishing a possession limit specific to each mode.
Proposed Commercial fishing measures include but are not limited to the adoption of a seasonal closure in Virginia waters for certain species of shark but to allow for transit of legally caught shark from Federal waters into state waters provided the vessel does not engage in fishing and all fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use; establish six species groupings with a specific quota for each group; establish closure for state waters once the quota for a group has been announced and closed in Federal waters; modify the existing possession limit; define shark fishermen and allowable gear; define shark trot line; establish a research permit and display provisions; require all shark be sold to Federally permitted dealers; for the purpose of this regulation define small mesh gill net as less than 5 inches and large mesh as equal to 5 inches or greater than 5 inches; require large mesh gill nets (5 inches or greater) be checked at least every two hours; require all shark have tail and fins attached when landed; repeal the commercial size limit for shark caught in Virginia waters west of the Colregs line.
2. Chapter 4VAC20-1190-10 et seq. "Gill Net Control Date"
The Commission proposes to establish a control date of December 31, 2005 that will be used at such time as the Commission determines that the gill net fishery should be limited. Participation, by any individual, in Virginia's gill net fisheries, after the control date, will not be considered in the calculation or distribution of fishing privileges or licenses, should limits on the participation in these fisheries be necessary. Any individual entering these fisheries and purchasing a license, after the control date, will have no guarantee to a gill net license in future years, if entry to these fisheries is restricted.
The Commission is authorized to limit fishing effort and license sales under Sections 28.2-204.1 and 28.2-302.8 of the Code of Virginia.
3. Chapter 4VAC20-270-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Crabbing"
This regulation makes it unlawful, for any person knowingly to place, set, fish or leave any fish pot in any tidal waters, from March 12 through March 16, except it is lawful for any person to place, set or fish any fish pot in those waters located upriver of boundary lines in the James, York and Rappahannock rivers. The Commission proposes to establish the U. S. Route 301 Bridge, as a boundary line, in the Potomac River, and make it lawful, for any legally licensed fish pot to be placed, set or fished upriver, of this boundary line, in Virginia waters.
This amendment will not compromise the original intent of the regulation which was to prevent the capture of blue crabs, prior to the opening of the crab potting season.
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VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES; THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS DUE TO A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE BETTY WARREN (757-247-2248) NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.