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 28, 2012 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 27, 2012. 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.
I. Chapter 4 VAC20-620-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Summer Flounder".
The Commission proposes 4 options, for management of the 2012 recreational summer flounder fishery. The 2011 fishery was managed by a 17 ½ inches minimum size limit, 4 fish possession limit, with no closed season. The 4 options for the 2012 fishery are:
A) 17 ½ inches minimum size limit, 5 fish possession limit and no closed season
B) 17 inches minimum size limit, 5 fish possession limit and no closed season
C) 17 inches minimum size limit, 4 fish possession limit and no closed season
D) 16 ½ inches minimum size limit, 4 fish possession limit and no closed season
The purpose of this proposed amendment is to comply with interstate requirements.
II. Chapter 4 VAC20-900-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs".
The Commission proposes to establish the commercial quota of horseshoe crabs for 2012 as 152,495 horseshoe crabs. The 2011 commercial quota was 130,953 horseshoe crabs. In addition, the Commission may modify the current gear type allocation of the 2012 commercial quota, as shown below, based on industry input.
Gear type allocation percentages and amounts of commercial quota scheduled for 2012:
Dredge Gear (42%) or 64,048 horseshoe crabs
Trawl Gear (13%) or 19,824 horseshoe crabs
Hand harvest (23%) or 35,074 horseshoe crabs
Pound net and other Gear (22%) or 33,549 horseshoe crabs
The purpose of establishing the amended quotas conforms with the interstate plan for this species, and the proposed reallocation of quota, by gear, is to more efficiently and equitably utilize this resource.
III. Chapter 4 VAC20-910-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Scup (Porgy)".
On January 24, 2012 the Marine Resources Commission adopted, under its emergency regulatory authority (Section 28.2-210 of The Code of Virginia), amendments to this Chapter that established a 50,000-pound possession limit, for scup, and made it unlawful for any person to land, in Virginia, more than 50,000 pounds of scup the during each consecutive 7-day landing period. Previously the possession and landing limits were 30,000 pounds. The Commission proposes to make these emergency amendments, which became effective January 30, 2012, permanent parts of this Chapter.
The purpose of this amendment is to allow Virginia seafood buyers the same marketing opportunity, as other states under the same management plan.
IV. Chapter 4 VAC20-950-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass".
The Commission proposes to amend this Chapter to establish the 2012 commercial black sea bass directed and by-catch fisheries' harvest quotas, as 302,000 pounds for the directed fishery and 40,000 pounds for the bycatch fishery, for a total commercial quota of 342,000 pounds. The 2011 directed fishery quota was 302,216 pounds and the bycatch fishery quota was 40,000 pounds.
The purpose of this amendment is to conform to the 2012 interstate plan change.
V. Chapter 4 VAC20-1240-10 et seq., "Fisherman Identification Program".
The Commission proposes an amendment to this Chapter that would establish an additional condition that specifies any fisherman, except those exempted, shall be required to obtain a fisherman identification number before that person recreationally takes, catches or attempts to take or catch any marine or anadromous fish species in any tidal waters of the Commonwealth. Currently, the Chapter does not provide for the attempt to take or catch.
The purpose of the amendment is to clearly define the conditions that require registration under the Fisherman Identification Program.
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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.