The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposed amendments to 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, February 23, 2010, at the Virginia 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 22, 2010. 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.
A. Chapter 4 VAC20-620-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Summer Flounder"
The Commission proposes to amend the bycatch landing provisions for any person harvesting summer flounder outside of Virginia's waters as follows:
The landing of summer flounder, during a closed season, as bycatch harvested outside of Virginia's waters shall not exceed 10% of the landings of Atlantic croaker or the combined landings, on board a vessel, of black sea bass, scup, squid, scallops or Atlantic mackerel.
For summer flounder bycatch that is part of the croaker landings, on board a vessel, no more than 1,500 pounds of summer flounder shall be landed.
The vessel's catch must be landed, and sold, in its entirety at the point of landing.
Currently, it is unlawful for any person harvesting summer flounder outside of Virginia's waters to possess aboard any vessel, in Virginia, any amount of Summer Flounder, in excess of 10%, by weight of all other landed species on board the vessel.
B. Chapter 4 VAC20-620-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Summer Flounder"
The Commission will consider three management options, for the 2010 recreational summer flounder fishery:
1) An 18 ½-inch minimum size limit, with a 5 - fish possession limit and an open season year round.
2) An 18 ½-inch minimum size limit, with a 4 - fish possession limit and an open season year round.
3) An 18-inch minimum size limit, with a 5 - fish possession limit and a closed season from June 7 through July 11.
C. Chapter 4 VAC20-380-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Grey Trout (Weakfish)"
The Commission will review public comment on the following compliance measures established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Weakfish:
1) Reduce the recreational weakfish fishery possession limit to one fish. Currently, that limit is 6 fish.
2) Implement a 100 pound landings limit, per vessel, per day or trip (whichever is the longer period of time), for directed fisheries (gill net, haul seine, pound net, out-of-state trawl), for the open season. Currently, there is no landing limit during open seasons, for these gear types.
3) Reduce the bycatch limit to 100 pounds, per vessel, per day or trip (whichever is the longer period of time), for all non-directed fisheries (those harvesting weakfish during closed seasons, from closed areas, or not meeting gear restrictions. Gill net, haul seine, pound net and out-of- state trawl fisheries would be subject to this bycatch limit, and, currently, the bycatch limit is the lesser of 450 pounds or an amount equal to the number of registered commercial fishermen or seafood landing licensees on board multiplied by 150 pounds.
4) Establish that any gear type, other than gill net, haul seine, pound net or out-of-state trawl, would be limited to a 100-pound, per vessel, per day or trip (whichever is the longer period of time).
5) Reduce the out-of-state trawl fishery's allowance for undersized fish (less than 12 inches total length) to 100 fish that cannot be sold. Currently, that allowance is 300 undersize weakfish.
D. Chapter 4 VAC20-490-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Sharks"
The Commission proposes a requirement that any smooth dogfish, in possession of any recreational fisherman, shall have the head, tail and all fins attached to that smooth dogfish. The Commission also proposes specific reporting requirements, for any individual granted an exemption permit to harvest any shark for research or display purposes. The purpose of these amendments is to maintain compliance with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks.
E. Chapters 4 VAC20-910-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Scup (Porgy)" and 4 VAC20-950-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass"
The Commission proposes to set the 2010 commercial black sea bass quotas and recreational black sea bass open season, to comply with the requirements of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The commercial black sea bass quotas will be no less than 178,638 pounds for the directed fishery and 40,000 pounds for the bycatch fishery.
The recreational black sea bass open season would, at a minimum, be open during the months of June and September, 2010, as allowed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The Commission proposes to set the 2010 summer period commercial scup quota at 6,861 pounds. The amendment is necessary to comply with the requirements of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
F. Chapter 4VAC20-530-10 et seq., "Pertaining to American Shad"
The Commission proposes to amend this regulation, to allow the limited by-catch of American shad, in areas above the first bridge in the James, York and Rappahannock rivers, excluding spawning areas, in 2010. This action is necessary, as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission reviews Virginia's request for an American shad by-catch proposal, on an annual basis, and has approved the 2010 limited by-catch of American shad.
G. Chapter 4 VAC20-720-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Restrictions of Oyster Harvest"
The Commission will consider a proposal to reopen Rotation Area 5, in the Rappahannock River, to the harvest of oysters, by hand scrape, during the month of
March. That area was previously open during October 2009.
The proposed effective date is March 1, 2010. All the other oyster harvest restrictions will apply.
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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.