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, April 26, 2011, 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, April 25, 2011. 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 4VAC20-620-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Summer Flounder".
On March 29, 2011, the Commission adopted an Emergency amendment to establish the unlawful time period, for offloading summer flounder, as 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. The unlawful time period for offloading summer flounder previously was 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
On April 26, 2011, the Commission proposes to consider adopting this emergency amendment that establishes the unlawful time period for offloading summer flounder, as 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., as a permanent part of Regulation 4VAC20-620-10 et seq.
II. Chapter 4VAC20-752-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Blue Crab Sanctuaries"
A) The Commission will consider a modest modification of the Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuary boundary line of Area 1 that extends offshore from Smith Point to the Great Wicomico River. This modified boundary would extend from the Green Can Buoy on the Maryland-Virginia line, thence southeast to Smith Point Light, thence southwest to the current boundary line in this area. Overall, the proposed boundary line, endorsed by the Crab Management Advisory Committee, provides greater depth outside the boundary line for crab harvesting activities, at a time when the sanctuary is closed to harvest. This change is not expected to impede the migration of female crabs.
B) Currently, it is unlawful to conduct any recreational or commercial crabbing within Area 1 of the Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuary from May 1 through September 15. The Commission will consider a proposal to modify the start date of the sanctuary closure to May 16 from May 1.
III. Chapter 4VAC20-900-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Horseshoe Crab".
The Commission proposes to reduce the 2011 harvest quota to 130,933 horseshoe crabs, in response to the 2009 and 2010 harvest quota overages. In order to enhance harvest control measures and quota allocations, the Commission will consider amendments to Regulation 4VAC20-900-10 et seq., which will:
a) Require that all horseshoe crab harvesters call in daily harvest amounts;
b) Reduce initial landing limits for both the restricted and unrestricted horseshoe crab endorsement licenses by 50%;
c) Adjust the landing limit triggers from 50% to 80%;
d) Initiate a license and permit moratorium for new entrants;
e) Establish a control date of December 31, 2010, to serve as a basis for the future development of horseshoe crab regulations;
f) Sub-allocate the annual quota by gear types, as follows:
a. 42% of annual quota for dredge gears,
b. 13% of annual quota for trawl gears,
c. 23% of annual quota for hand harvester licensees,
d. 22% of annual quota for pound net and other gears.
IV. Chapter 4VAC20-1230-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Restrictions on Shellfish" and Chapter 4VAC20-1250-10 et seq. "Pertaining to the Tagging of Shellfish".
The Commission will consider modifications to Chapter 4VAC20-1230-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Shellfish", to define a "layer" of ice as "a single thickness of coating spread out and covering a surface". The proposed modification would require persons using ice to completely cover shellfish with a layer of ice. The Commission will consider removing all sections of Chapter 4VAC20-1230-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions of Shellfish", that pertain to the tagging of shellfish, and re-establishing those sections as Chapter 4VAC20-1250-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Tagging of Shellfish."
In addition, a change to Chapter 4VAC20-1250-30 provides that any person harvesting shellfish for commercial purposes shall affix a tag to each container of shellfish, as soon as possible and before leaving any harvest area. Currently, any harvester shall affix a tag to each container of shellfish before the shellfish are removed from that harvester's boat.
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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.