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, March 27, 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, March 26, 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".
On February 28, 2012 the Marine Resources Commission adopted, under its emergency regulatory authority (Section 28.2-210 of The Code of Virginia), amendments to this chapter to establish that it shall be unlawful to possess aboard any vessel in Virginia waters any amount of summer flounder in excess of the combined total of the Virginia landing limit and the amount of the legal North Carolina landing or trip limit. Previously the vessel possession limit was 20,000 pounds.
The purpose of this amendment is to promote efficiency in the utilization of fisheries resources.
Chapter 4 VAC20-900-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs".
On February 28, 2012 the Marine Resources Commission adopted, under its emergency regulatory authority (Section 28.2-210 of The Code of Virginia), amendments to this chapter to establish that it shall be unlawful for any person who possesses a horseshoe crab endorsement license or a horseshoe crab bycatch permit to harvest horseshoe crabs by gill net, except from the daily hours of sunrise to sunset. The emergency amendments also established it is unlawful to land horseshoe crabs caught by gill net in excess of 250 horseshoe crabs per day.
The purpose of this amendment is to allow for equitable harvest opportunities.
III. Chapter 4 VAC20-950-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass".
The Commission proposes to amend this Chapter to establish the 2012 recreational black sea bass open season as May 19 through October 14, and a second open season as November 1 through December 31. This proposal provides six additional days to the fishing season, compared to the 2011 season.
The purpose of this amendment is to comply with the regional management approach approved by the ASMFC through an addendum to the interstate black sea bass fishery management plan.
IV. Chapter 4 VAC20-1260-10 et seq., "Pertaining to River Herring".
On February 28, 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 1) made it unlawful to catch and retain possession of any river herring, from Virginia tidal waters, or to possess any river herring aboard any vessel, in Virginia tidal waters, or to land any river herring in Virginia; and, 2) made it lawful to import any river herring or its by-product, imported into Virginia, from another state or country, but it shall be accompanied by a bill of lading or commercial invoice that shall include the name of the seller, the date of sale, and the pounds of river herring product.
One purpose of this emergency chapter is to clearly establish that the harvest and possession prohibitions on river herring pertain to Virginia's wild stocks of river herring, rather than river herring or its by-products imported for commercial purposes. Another purpose of this amendment is to clarify that the regulation does not apply to landlocked, non-migratory river herring in certain freshwater impoundments, under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
V. Chapter 4 VAC20-960-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Tautog".
The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC20-960-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Tautog", to establish December 6, 2011 as the control date for management of the commercial tautog fishery in Virginia. Establishment of this control date will provide one possible criteria for future limited entry into the commercial tautog fishery. Any individual who has entered the commercial tautog fishery after this control date may have no right to participate in the commercial tautog fishery should limited entry provisions be established in the future.
The purpose of this amendment is to prevent additional overcapacity in this fishery and reduce the possibilities of overfishing.
VI. Chapter 4 VAC20-1250-10 et seq. "Pertaining to the Tagging of Shellfish".
The Commission proposes to amend this chapter to conform to standards established by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC), in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health, that establish a method of identifying, with the use of shellfish tags, any harvest of shellfish from Virginia waters. The purpose of this chapter is to establish a method of identifying harvested shellfish, according to its original Virginia harvest area, at any time of the year.
The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Bulk Shellfish Tag" means a shellfish tag that shall only be used for shellfish harvested from a single harvest area, in any one day, and accompanies a conveyance containing multiple containers of shellfish.
"Certified Dealer" means a person to whom certification is issued by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) for the purposes of introducing shellfish into commerce.
"Container" means any bag, box, sack, tote, or other receptacle that contains shellfish to be held, in any type of conveyance, for transport from the harvest area to the landing site and from the landing site to the point of sale or other use.
"Conveyance" means any form of transport, either mechanical, such as a boat or truck, or non-mechanical, that is used to transport shellfish from the harvest area to the landing site or from the landing site to the point of sale, to a certified dealer, or other use.
"Harvest" means the act of removing any shellfish from a designated harvest area and placing that shellfish in a container or on or in a conveyance.
"Oysters" mean those oysters 2-1/2 inches or greater in shell length.
"Shellfish" means all species of bivalve molluscan shellfish.
"Single-Harvest Area" means one of the water areas established by the Commission for reporting fisheries statistics, as described in the listing included as an addendum to this chapter.
"Shellfish Harvester Tag" means a shellfish tag that shall only be used for shellfish harvested from a single harvest area, in any one day, that are either loose in a conveyance or in a single container of shellfish.
4VAC20-1250-30. Shellfish identification.
A. Any person harvesting shellfish for commercial purposes shall affix a Shellfish Harvester tag to each container of shellfish, except as provided in 4VAC20-1250-30 D, before leaving any single harvest area. The Shellfish Harvester tag shall remain in place while the shellfish are transported from the harvest area to the landing site and from the landing site to a certified dealer, or other use. Any transport of shellfish to a certified dealer requires that the Shellfish Harvester tag remain affixed to each container of shellfish until the container is emptied or shipped and re-tagged by a certified dealer.
B. The Shellfish Harvester tag and the Bulk Shellfish tag shall be durable, waterproof, [and approved by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) or the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) prior to use,] and shall be at least 13.8 square inches in size.
C. The Shellfish Harvester tag shall contain all of the following indelible and legible information, in the following order:
1. The harvester's VMRC identification number (last four digits) or VMRC oyster aquaculture harvester permit number or clam aquaculture harvester permit number or VDH Certificate of Inspection number;D. For any quantities of shellfish commercially harvested from a single harvest area in any one day that are loose and not containerized aboard any conveyance, the harvester shall prepare a Shellfish Harvester tag, for that quantity of shellfish which shall accompany that quantity of shellfish during transport from the single harvest area to the landing site and from the landing site to a certified dealer, or other use. When multiple containers of shellfish are harvested from a single harvest area, in any one day, and placed in any conveyance, the lot may be tagged with a Bulk Shellfish tag, for that quantity of shellfish, which shall accompany that quantity of shellfish during transport from the harvest area to the landing site and from the landing site to a certified dealer, or other use. In addition to the information required in 4VAC20-1250-30 C, any Bulk Shellfish tag shall also include:
2. The date of harvest;
3. The most accurate identification of the harvest location or aquaculture site, including the abbreviated name of the state of harvest and the commission's designation of the growing area by indexing, administrative, or geographic designation, and the minimum identification requirement shall be to specify a single harvest area from the listing appended to this chapter;
4. The type and quantity of harvested shellfish; and
5. The following statement, in bold capitalized letters: "THIS TAG IS REQUIRED TO BE ATTACHED, UNTIL THE CONTAINER IS EMPTY OR IS RE-TAGGED, AND THEREAFTER KEPT ON FILE FOR 90 DAYS."
1. The following statement in bold capitalized letters: "ALL SHELLFISH CONTAINERS IN THIS LOT HAVE THE SAME HARVEST DATE AND ARE FROM A SINGLE AREA OF HARVEST"; andE. Whenever any shellfish are harvested, whether loose, in bulk, or in containers or conveyances, and are not tagged as required by 4VAC20-1250-30 C, this shall constitute a violation of this chapter, and the entire quantity of untagged shellfish shall be subject to seizure and disposed of in accordance with 4VAC20-1250-40.
2. The number of individual containers in the lot.
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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.