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, October 27, 2009, 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, October 26, 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.
A) Chapter 4VAC20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting"
The Commission proposes that no person whose fishing permit is currently revoked or rescinded, by the Marine Resources Commission, pursuant to section 28.2-232 of the Code of Virginia, shall be authorized to serve as an agent for fishing the commercial fisherman's gear or selling the harvest.
B) Chapter 4VAC20-490-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Sharks"
1) The Commission proposes, from July 1 through the end of February that commercial fishermen must land smooth dogfish with the first dorsal fin naturally attached to the carcass. For the remainder of the year (March 1 though June 30) commercial fishermen may completely process, at sea, and land smooth dogfish but must still comply with the 5% fin to carcass weight ratio. The purpose of this amendment is to comply with interstate regulation of this species.
2) The Commission proposes, under authority established by Section 28.2-204.1 of the Code of Virginia, to establish a spiny dogfish limited entry permit. The spiny dogfish limited entry permit will be issued only to persons who held a current Virginia Commercial Fishermen's Registration License and meet one of the following two qualifications:
b) shall have documented harvesting more than 10,000 pounds of spiny dogfish on Virginia Mandatory Harvest Reports that have been received and are currently on file within the Commission's mandatory harvest reporting system, as a primary reporter, or as a helper, in any one year from 2006 through 2008.
C) Chapter 4VAC20-20-10 et seq. "Pertaining to the Licensing of Fixed Fishing Devices"
The Commission proposes to require all pound nets and similar fixed fishing devices that are licensed and fished in Virginia waters east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and equipped with a leader or hedging designed to channel finfish for capture, to use a stringer design in the lead or leader portion of the fixed fishing device year-round. This requirement shall include but not be limited to pound nets and fyke nets. The stringer design and inspection procedure shall comply with the NOAA Fisheries Small Entity Compliance Guide for modified pound net leaders in the Virginia Chesapeake Bay, issued November 2008. The purpose of this amendment is to reduce the takes of marine mammals and sea turtles.
D) Gill Net Limited Entry
The Commission proposes, under authority established by Section 28.2-204.1 of the Code of Virginia, to establish a gill net limited entry fishery for gill nets greater than 600 feet in length purchased by resident and non-resident commercial fishermen, and limitations for commercial fishermen using gill nets not greater than 600 feet. The gill net limited entry permit will be issued only to persons who held a current Virginia Commercial Fishermen's Registration License and meet one of the following three qualifications:
1) shall have held a Virginia gill net license prior to December 31, 2005; or,
2) shall have documented on Virginia Mandatory Harvest Reports, that have been received and are currently on file within the Commission's mandatory harvest reporting system, gill net harvest as a primary reporter, or as a helper with a Virginia gill net license, for at least 100 days in any one year, from 2006 through 2008; or,
3) shall have documented on Virginia Mandatory Harvest Reports, which have been received and are currently on file within the Commission's mandatory harvest reporting system, gill net harvest as a primary reporter, or as a helper with a Virginia gill net license, for at least 60 days in any 2 years, from 2006 through 2008.
Those licensed fishermen who do not qualify for the gill net limited entry permit would be restricted from purchasing greater than 5 gill net licenses (each no longer than 600 feet).
The following additional provisions are proposed:
1) The gill net limited entry permit will be issued as separate permits for resident and non-residents.
2) Gill net limited entry permits will not be transferable between residents and non-residents. A resident may only transfer to a resident, a non-resident only to a non-resident.
3) Gill net limited entry permitees would be restricted from purchasing greater than 10 gill net licenses (each no longer than 1,200 feet).
The purpose of these regulations is to limit overcapacity of the gill net fishery and prevent excessive harvest of limited fishery resources.
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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.