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Publice Notice: Proposed Amendments to Regulations, February 2007

NOTICE

The Virginia Marine Resources  Commission invites public comment on the proposals listed below.

In accordance with §28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposals will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 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, February 26, 2007.  Copies of the proposed amendments 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.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-620-10 Et Seq., “Pertaining to Summer Flounder”

The Commission invites public comments on four equivalent conservational options designed to achieve the Virginia recreational summer flounder 2007 target landings of 407,525 fish.  This target is established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and represents a 53 percent reduction from the 2006 recreational landings of summer flounder.  The four options are as follows:

Option Minimum Size Limit Possession Limit Closed Season(s)
Option 1 19 inches 6 fish None
Option 2
18 ½ inches 5 fish  January 1 – March 31
AND
July 23 through July 28
Option 3 18 ½ inches 3 fish NONE
Option 4 18 inches 2 fish  January 1 through March 31
AND
July 16 through July 31


Regulation 4 VAC 20-950-10 Et Seq., “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass”

On January 23, 2007, the Commission adopted Emergency amendments that establish the 2007 commercial black sea bass directed fishery quota as 412,470 pounds and the 2007 commercial black sea bass by-catch fishery quota as 45,830 pounds. On February 27, 2007, the Commission proposes to consider adopting these quotas, as a permanent part of Regulation 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., but will also consider alternate methods for allocation of the 2007 total commercial harvest quota between the directed and by-catch fisheries. Another emergency amendment provides that pots set and fished for black sea bass shall contain two escape vents of 2 1/2 inches diameter circular dimension, 2 inches square dimension, or 1 3/8 inches by 5 3/4 inches rectangular dimension.  Previously, only one escape vent of 2 3/8 inches diameter circular dimension, 2 inches square dimension, or 1 3/8 inches by 5 3/4 inches rectangular dimension was required. One other amendment to this regulation establishes that no authorization for an alternate vessel to land black sea bass shall extend for more than 60 days from the date the Commissioner approves the authorization. The Commission proposes to make these amendments a permanent part of Regulation 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., at its February 27, 2007 meeting.  The purpose of these amendments, effective February 1, 2007, is to comply with the federal or interstate management plans.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-530-10 Et Seq., “Pertaining to American Shad”

On January 23, 2007, the Commission adopted Emergency amendments that establish the 2007 American shad by-catch and limited spawning reaches by-catch fisheries as the same as they were in 2006. Only anchor and staked gill nets may be used by qualifying commercial registered fishermen.  Ten American shad per vessel are allowed, as the possession limit in the by-catch areas, and five American shad per vessel are allowed, as the possession limit in the spawning reaches. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard a vessel or land any American shad, unless that person possesses at least an equal number of fish of only the following food-grade species:  spot, croaker, bluefish, catfish, striped bass or white perch. The Commission proposes to consider these emergency amendments, as well as management measures that would be similar to those cited above but would also allow the use of pound nets and drift gill nets within the by-catch fisheries and allow a by-catch allowance of 10 American Shad per permitted fisherman in the by-catch areas and 5 American shad per person in the spawning reaches.  In addition, as a third option, the Commission proposes to consider not establishing an American shad by-catch fishery in 2007.

Season Established for Relaying Shellfish From Condemned Private Grounds

The current season for the removal or relaying of shellfish from private grounds is April 1 to November 1. The Commission proposes to modify this season and establish it as February 1 to November 1. The Commission, under Section 28.2-816 of the Code of Virginia, may change the opening or closing dates of this season.

Virginia Seafood Council Aquaculture Experiment

On February 27, 2007, the Commission will review the Virginia Seafood Council proposal for continuing aquaculture experiments with the triploid non-native oyster, Crassostrea ariakensis.
 

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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 BRANDY BATTLE (757) 247-2248 NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.

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