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CHAPTER: PERTAINING TO THE SETTING AND MESH SIZE OF GILL NETS

VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION
"PERTAINING TO THE SETTING AND MESH SIZE OF GILL NETS"
CHAPTER 4VAC 20-751-10 ET SEQ.


PREAMBLE

This chapter places restrictions on the setting and mesh size of gill nets, to reduce the by-catch of American shad and striped bass and to reduce the strandings and mortalities of threatened or endangered sea turtles.

This chapter is promulgated pursuant to authority contained in 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.  This chapter amends previous Chapter 4 VAC20-751-10 et seq. which was adopted October 28, 2008 and effective on October 29, 2008.  The effective date of this chapter is January 1, 2013.

4VAC20-751-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to reduce the out-of-season by-catch of American shad and to preclude the harvest of coastal migratory striped bass, thereby reducing injuries and mortalities to these two species.  This chapter is also intended to reduce the strandings and mortalities of threatened and endangered sea turtles. 

4VAC20-751-15. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Unattended gill net" means any gill net set in Virginia tidal waters, described in 4VAC20-751-20 E, that is located more than one mile from the licensee of that gill net.

4VAC20-751-20. Gill net mesh sizes, restricted areas, and season.

A.  From January 1 through March 25 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to place, set, or fish any gill net with a stretched mesh size between 3-3/4 inches and six inches within the restricted areas as set forth below, except that from January 16 through the end of February any legally licensed fisherman may place, set, or fish any gill net with a stretched mesh size from five inches to six inches within the restricted areas described in this subsection.  From March 26 through June 15 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to place, set, or fish any gill net with a stretched mesh size greater than six inches within the restricted areas set forth below, except as described in 4VAC20-252-135: 

1.  In James River, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Willoughby Spit and Old Point Comfort; 

2.  In Back River, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Factory Point and Plumtree Point; 

3.  In Poquoson River, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Marsh Point and Tue Point; 

4.  In York River, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Tue Point and Guinea Marshes; 

5.  In Mobjack Bay, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Guinea Marshes and New Point Comfort; 

6.  In Milford Haven, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Rigby Island and Sandy Point; 

7.  In Piankatank River, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Cherry Point and Stingray Point; and 

8.  In Rappahannock River, those tidal waters upstream of a line connecting Stingray Point to Windmill Point. 

B.  During the period May 1 through June 30, it shall be unlawful for any person to have aboard any vessel or to place, set, or fish more than 8,400 feet of gill net. 

C.  During the period May 1 through June 30, it shall be unlawful for any person to have aboard any vessel or to place, set, or fish any gill net in the Chesapeake Bay or in Virginia's portion of the Territorial Sea, that is made, set or fished in a tied-down manner, by connecting the net's head rope and foot rope with lines, which cause the net to form a pocket of webbing. 

D.  During the period June 1 through June 30, it shall be unlawful for any person to have aboard any vessel or to place, set, or fish any gill net with a stretched mesh greater than six inches in the Virginia portion of the Territorial Sea, south of a line connecting Smith Island Light and the three-mile limit line. 

E.  From June 1 through October 15, it shall be unlawful for any person to place any unattended gill net within 500 yards of the mean high-water mark, on the ocean side of Northampton and Accomack Counties, north of a line, beginning at the southern most point of Smith Island and thence extending due east to the three-mile limit line. 

4VAC20-751-30. Penalty.

As set forth in 28.2-903 of the Code of Virginia, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter committed by the same person within 12 months of a prior violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

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