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Public Notice: Pertaining to Crab Pots

NOTICE

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on proposed amendments to Regulations 4 VAC 20-700-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crab Pots" and Regulation 4 VAC 20-1040-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing Licenses and Tags." The amendments are described 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, May 23, 2000, 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, P. O. Box 756, Newport News, Virginia 23607. 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.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

I.  Regulation 4 VAC 20-1040-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing Licenses and Tags."

A. The Commission proposes to extend the current moratorium on the sale of new crabbing licenses from May 26, 2000 until May 26, 2001.

B. The Commission proposes to modify the requirements for the transferring of crabbing licenses to allow for the transfer and accumulation of active crabbing licenses. The Commission invites comment on what constitutes an active license in terms of pounds of crabs harvested or number of days worked by the licensee.

The purpose of the above amendments is to continue to cap and control fishing effort in the crab fisheries until the blue crab stock stabilizes.

II.  Regulation 4 VAC 20-700-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crab Pots."

The Commission proposes to allow for the interchangeable use of peeler pots and crab pots when the respective gear contains the required cull rings and is appropriately licensed and marked. This proposal also exempts crab pots from the 1 1/2-inch mesh size requirement.

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to reduce the economic burden placed on fishermen by allowing them to use one type of pot for both hard crab and peeler crab fisheries.

III. The Commission will review the status of those persons currently ineligible for crabbing licenses because they failed to purchase the same license in 1999. The Commission will consider the following options:

1) Establishing a license review panel to examine the extenuating circumstances of each person and granting crabbing licenses in certain cases.

2) Providing an additional 30 days for previously eligible persons to be licensed.

3) Granting licenses to those persons who were previously active in the crab fishery.

4) Granting no crabbing licenses.

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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 LESS THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING TIME AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.

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