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Publice Notice: Pertaining to Crab Dredge License Sales and Various Regs 2004

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the 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 Tuesday, April 27, 2004 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, April 26, 2004.  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 20-750-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crab Dredge License Sales"

The Commission proposes to establish provisions for a lottery among qualified registered commercial fishermen to increase the number of vessels in the crab dredge fishery to 225.  All persons eligible for the 2003/2004 crab dredge fishery and those added by the lottery would continue to be eligible to participate in the fishery in future years, unless they failed to register as a commercial fisherman or transferred their crab dredge license to another person.

The Commission also proposes:

1) to eliminate the special crab dredge permit
2) to remove the requirement that a fisherman purchase a crab dredge license and actively engage in the crab dredge fishery to maintain his eligibility to participate in the fishery in the following season,
3) to allow for the transfer of crab dredge licenses to any registered commercial fisherman,
4) to eliminate the exception process and review committee.

These amendments are proposed to reduce the regulatory burden in the crab dredge fishery which has achieved its goal, established in 1994, of lowering the number of vessels in the fishery to 225.

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

The Commission proposes to extend the moratorium on the sale of new crabbing licenses (crab pot, peeler pot, scrape, trap, ordinary trot line, patent trot line, dip net) until May 26, 2007.  Those fishermen eligible for any crabbing license in 2004 will continue to be eligible for that specific crab license through 2007, unless the fisherman fails to register as a commercial fisherman or transfers that license to another person.

III. Regulation 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing"

The Commission proposes to amend the regulation to allow peeler pot fishermen to harvest up to one bushel of hard crabs from peeler pots on Sunday.  These crabs may be used only to bait the peeler pot and may not be sold.  The Commission also proposes to extend the 8-hour work day in April and May to 9 hours and to reduce the length of the crabbing season by closing the fishery during a portion of November, to compensate for the longer work day in April and May.

IV. Regulation 4 VAC 20-370-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Culling of Crabs"

The Commission proposes to repeal the ban on possession of dark colored sponge crabs and the requirement to return these crabs immediately to the water alive.  The Commission proposes to substitute a ban on the possession of all sponge crabs, regardless of color or stage of development, during a portion of the summer spawning season (July-August).

V.  Regulation 4 VAC 20-670-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Recreational Gear Licenses"

The Commission proposes to repeal the provision which prohibits any person licensed to use five crab pots for recreational crabbing, from fishing these crab pots on Sunday.

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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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