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Publice Notice: PERTAINING TO STRIPED BASS 2005

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

In accordance with §28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 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, August 22, 2005. Copies of the proposed amendments may be reviewed at the Commission Monday through Thursday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and may be obtained by calling the Commission at (757) 247-2248.

The following proposed amendments are offered for public comment:

Regulation 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. "PERTAINING TO STRIPED BASS"

a) The Commission proposes a modification to the size limits for the fall, 2005, Chesapeake Area recreational striped bass fishery. A modified slot limit allowing the harvest of two striped bass from 18 inches through 28 inches, total length, or the harvest of one striped bass from 18 inches through 28 inches and one striped bass greater than or equal to 34 inches, are proposed. The Commission will also consider variations of the above measures, including higher minimum size limits and changes in the slot size. The purpose of these proposals is to reduce the recreational harvest, as it has exceeded its quota for the last four years.

b) The Commission proposes changes to the commercial striped bass tagging program requiring the use of two separate tags, each, for the Chesapeake Bay Area and the Coastal Area fisheries. For the Chesapeake Area, one type of tag will be used only for striped bass 18-28 inches in total length, and a second type of tag will be used for any striped bass greater than or equal to 18 inches in total length. Similar tagging is proposed for the Coastal Area fishery where the size intervals for separate tags are 28-34 inches and greater than or equal to 28 inches. The purposes of the proposal are to reduce the harvest of large striped bass; to reduce the average sizes of striped bass in the two fisheries, and to stabilize the number of tags in the quotas for each fishery.

c) The Commission proposes to add requirements to improve compliance with the commercial striped bass tagging program, including: a prohibition on possession of Chesapeake Area tags in the Coastal Area; issuance of one tag type at a time to fishermen eligible for both Chesapeake Area and Coastal Area tags; and, repeal of all Coastal Area transit permits.

d) The Commission proposes to repeal the prohibition on the use of gill nets with a stretched mesh 3 3/4 inches to 6 inches, from January 1 through March 25, in the James River, Back River, Poquoson River, York River, Mobjack Bay, Milford Haven, Piankatank River, and Rappahannock River. The purpose of the proposal is to reduce the harvest of large striped bass (>28 inches).

e) The Commission proposes to establish a 7-inch maximum mesh size for all gill nets used in the striped bass Chesapeake Area fishery. The Commission also proposes to establish a maximum mesh size for gill nets used in the Coastal Area striped bass fishery. The purpose of the proposal is to reduce the harvest of large striped bass (> 28 inches).


4 VAC 20-566-10 ET SEQ., "PERTAINING TO THE HAMPTON ROADS SHELLFISH RELAY AREA"

The Commission has adopted an Emergency Regulation extending the clam harvest season in the Hampton Roads Shellfish Relay Area from August 15, 2005 through September 14, 2005. The Commission proposes to make that harvest season extension a permanent part of the regulation and to further extend the clam harvest season in the Hampton Roads Shellfish Relay Area to September 30.

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

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