The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on 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 Monday, December 22, 2003, at the Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, 4th Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607. Written comments on the proposals should be mailed to Jack Travelstead, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, 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.
I. Regulation 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Striped Bass"
The Commission proposes the following amendments to modify the conservation provisions and harvest restrictions for the 2004 striped bass fishery.
A) Reduce both the commercial striped bass harvest quota and recreational striped bass harvest quota from 1,701,748 pounds to 1,364,154 pounds each.
B) Establish a modified slot limit of 18 inches to 28 inches (maximum) for one fish of the two fish possession limit during the 120-day recreational fishing season in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and tributaries of the Potomac River.
C) Modify the Chesapeake area and Coastal area Commercial Fishery Individual Transferable Quota System, whereby each permitted fisherman's share of the commercial quota would be in pounds of striped bass, rather than numbers (tags) of striped bass.
D) Establish additional harvest reporting and transfer requirements for the commercial fishery, to ensure that individual poundage quotas and areas harvest quotas are not exceeded. Such measures may include electronic reporting by striped bass buyers, daily calls by harvesters to an interactive voice recording system, reporting in by fishermen to check-in stations, use of daily logbooks by fishermen, and limitations on time frames for the transfers of quota.
E) Prohibit the possession of striped bass tagged with Chesapeake Bay fishery tags on board any vessel in the three-mile limit area (Virginia's portion of the Territorial Sea). The Commission may consider exemptions to this provision for vessels transiting the area to reach their point of landing.
II. Regulation 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest"
The Commission proposes to change the open oyster harvest season for the James River Hand Scrape Area from February 1, 2004 through March 31, 2004 to January 1, 2004 through February 29, 2004.
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.