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Publice Notice: Proposed Amendments to Regulations, November 2006

NOTICE

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposed amendment to the regulation listed below.

In accordance with 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 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, November 27, 2006. 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 20-252-10 Et Seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass"

The Commission proposes to change the striped bass individual transferable quota program from a tag-based quota to a weight-based quota, in which eligible fishermen are assigned a quota, in pounds of striped bass, based upon the percentage share of total commercial quota allocated to them. In support of this change, the Commission also proposes the following amendments to the regulations:

1) Require those fishermen who self-market their striped bass catch to provide the Commission with receipts describing those sales;
2) Prohibit the issuance of tags to striped bass fishermen, until all previously issued tags are accounted for;
3) Require fishermen to return all unused tags to the Commission, within 30 days of their quota being taken;
4) Prohibit transfers of quota less than 200 pounds;
5) Prohibit transfers of quota from December 1 - February 1;
6) Prohibit transfers of quota, unless all prior harvest information is verified by the Commission;
7) Establish a processing fee of $25.00 plus the cost of each tag, to replace lost tags.
8) Prohibit temporary transfer of quota unless the transferor agrees to be responsible for violations of the harvest quota by the temporary transferee.
9) Establish a penalty schedule for exceeding the harvest quota that include deductions of the amount of harvest in excess of the quota from the next years quota, suspension from the striped bass fishery, and revocation of the striped bass permit for three years. 

Regulation 4 VAC 20-20-10 Et Seq., "Pertaining to the Licensing of Fixed Fishing Devices"

The effects of severe storms during fall 2006 resulted in damages to several pound nets and also prevented the setting and fishing of several licensed pound nets in calendar year 2006. The Commission proposes that during 2006 current pound net licensees shall not be required to fish their pound nets or establish a complete system of nets and poles, in order to renew their licenses or maintain their priority rights to such locations for 2007.

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

The Commission will consider an industry proposal for opening areas, for the harvest of oysters, along the southern shore of the lower Rappahannock River, south of a line that would extend from the center of the Robert O. Norris Bridge downstream to the middle of the mouth of the river. This proposal also includes the possibility for closing harvest areas above the Robert O. Norris Bridge that are currently open to oyster harvest. Currently, open harvest areas include: 1) Drumming Ground Hand Scrape Area which is that portion of the Rappahannock and Corrotoman River, west of the Rt. 3 Bridge (Norris Bridge), and north of a line from the center of the Rt. 3 bridge (Norris Bridge) following westward along the channel to Towles Point at Buoy "R6", excluding the Corrotoman River north of a line from Bar Pt. to the western most point on Black Stump Point; 2) Rappahannock River Hand Scrape Area, that area in the Rappahannock River including all public grounds between a line extending from the eastern most point of Long Point thence in an easterly direction to Flashing Red Buoy #8; thence due east to Rogue Point, upriver to a line extending from Tarpley Point; thence in a southwesterly direction to Flashing Green Buoy #13; thence south-southwesterly to Jones Point; 3) Rappahannock River Hand Tong Area, that area of the Rappahannock River, west of the line drawn from Tarpley Pt. to Green Buoy #13 to Jones Pt.; and, 4) Temples Bay Hand Scrape Area, that area in the Rappahannock River, west of the Rt. 3 Bridge (Norris Bridge) and south of a line drawn from the center of the Rt. 3 Bridge (Norris Bridge) upriver to Towles Pt. continuing the line upriver to Red Buoy 8; thence across to the southside of the river to Long Pt., thence back to the Rt. 3 Bridge (Norris Bridge) along the southern shoreline.

The Commission reserves the right to establish other oyster harvest management measures, for the Rappahannock River, to include no change to the current management system.

The Commission also requests public comment on a proposal to modify the currently closed and open areas within the Potomac River tributaries to Virginia. Currently, only the Nomini River Hand Scrape Area is open to harvest through December 31, 2006. 

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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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