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Public Notice: Proposed Regulations, April and May 2009

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

Note that the hearing on Item 1 below was originally scheduled for April 28, 2009 and has been delayed to May 26, 2009.

May 2009:


1). Establish 2009 regulations for the commercial harvest of blue crabs. Amendments to the following regulations are proposed: 

Chapter 4 VAC 20-1090-10 "Pertaining to Licensing Requirements and License Fees"
Chapter 4 VAC 20-880-10 "Pertaining to Hard Crab Pot Limits"
Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 "Pertaining to Crabbing"
Chapter 4 VAC 20-300-10 "Pertaining to Crab Catch Limits"
Chapter 4 VAC 20-610-10 "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Reporting"

The purpose of these proposed amendments is to ensure that total harvests of the crabs do not exceed 46% of the population, in 2009. The proposed measures are also designed to rebuild the spawning population of blue crabs to an interim target of 200 million crabs.

The Commission proposes to consider various closed seasons, bushel limits and combinations of closed seasons and bushel limits, for any dates within the May 1 through November 30 period, to conserve female crabs, as needed, based on the results of the 2008/09 winter dredge survey. 

The Commission also proposes to consider a modification to the allowable crab pot limits, in 2009, so that crab pot limits, for any license category, would be reduced by up to 15 to 20 percent of the 2007 allowable limits. Currently, the pot limits are established as 30 percent less than the 2007 limits.

The Commission also proposes changes to the requirements for authorized agents using crab gear. Currently, an agent that receives a crab fishing violation is subject only to court-imposed findings and penalties. The Commission now proposes that any agent convicted by a court of two crab fishery violations, within a 12-month period, shall be precluded from serving as an agent, for at least one year subsequent to that second conviction. The Commission also proposes that the licensee, who has authorized an agent who is convicted by a court of two crab fishery-related violations, within a 12-month period, shall appear before the Commission, for a license-revocation hearing.

In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed regulations listed above will be held at 12:00 Noon, on Tuesday, May 26, 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, May 25, 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.

April 2009:


2). Emergency Chapter 4VAC20-1210-et seq. "Pertaining to a Blue Crab Sanctuary". 

The purpose of this emergency chapter is to establish a different closed season, for the harvest of crabs for commercial purposes, in that area described by 28.2-709 of the Code of Virginia as a blue crab sanctuary. Section 28.2-709 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Commission to establish alternative seasons for the harvest of crabs in this sanctuary that is otherwise closed year round. 

On March 24, 2009, by emergency action the Commission established that it shall be unlawful, for any person, to take or catch crabs, for commercial purposes, from this same sanctuary area, from May 1 through September 15. The Commission proposes to establish this emergency amendment, as a permanent part of Chapter 4 VAC 20-1210 et seq, at its April 28 meeting.

In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed regulation listed above will be held at 12:00 Noon, on TuesdayApril 28, 2009, at the Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia.  Written comments on the proposal in Item 2 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, April 27, 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.


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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.

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