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Publice Notice: Proposed Amendments to Regulations, May 2007

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposals listed below. In accordance with 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing, on all the proposals. outlined below, will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 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 21, 2007. Copies of the proposed amendments 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.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-380-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Grey Trout (Weakfish)"

The Commission proposes to reduce the commercial by-catch possession limit as follows: During any closed season the possession limit, for grey trout taken as by-catch in other directed fisheries, shall be 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. For any fishing gear type not subject to a closed season, the possession limit shall be 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. These by-catch amounts are one-half of the current by-catch possession limits during closed seasons.

The Commission also proposes to lower the current recreational possession limit of 7 grey trout to 6 grey trout.

Both amendments are required of all jurisdictions that are subject to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan, for this species.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest"

On April 24, 2007, the Commission adopted Emergency amendments that establish summer harvest hours and other necessary restrictions that apply to those individuals working on public or private oyster grounds, in order to protect the public's health. The provisions of the emergency amendment to this regulation are effective on May 15, 2007, and the Commission proposes to make this amendment a permanent part of Regulation 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., at its May 22, 2007 meeting. The amendments are, as follows:

4 VAC 20-720-105 PUBLIC HEALTH AND WARM WATER HARVEST RESTRICTIONS:

1) It shall be unlawful for any person to have any cats, dogs, or other pets on board a vessel during the harvest of market oysters.

2) From May 1 through September 30:

a) Any vessel used for the harvest of market oysters, from either public or private grounds, shall have shading over the area that serves as storage for the oysters (except as described in Subsection C of this Section), and all oysters in the vessel shall be offloaded every day.

b) Any vessel used for the harvest of market oysters that are placed in an aquaculture container completely covered by a lid or top, shall not be required to have shading over that container.

c) It shall be unlawful for any person to harvest or attempt to harvest oysters, from public or private grounds, prior to one hour before sunrise or after 10:00 a.m.

3) Oysters harvested before 10:00 a.m., from May 1 through September 30, shall be refrigerated by 10:00 a.m. that same day, except that:

a) This shall not apply to the harvest of seed oysters or the customary husbandry processes associated with aquaculture of oysters.

b) This shall not apply to the harvest of oysters, if there is a Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation-approved refrigeration system or ice storage area, for the oysters, on board the harvest vessel.

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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 BRANDY BATTLE (757) 247-2248 NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.

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