January 6, 2012: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has received top marks for shellfish management and enforcement of regulations designed to protect consumers from the dangers of tainted shellfish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in a new audit. <Press Release> <FDA 2011 Shellfish Sanitation Audit>
December 22, 2011: Effective 11:59 P.M., Eastern Standard Time, Saturday, December 31, 2011, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will close. For further details, to include information on the offshore summer flounder bycatch fishery beginning after December 31, 2011, please see the notice.
December 9, 2011: The Virginia Institute of Marine Science Marine Extension Program will host two workshops in December to help watermen and aquaculturists put together applications for 2012 Fisheries Resource Grant funding. <Workshop Announcement>
December 5, 2011: Effective 6:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time (EST), Wednesday, December 7, 2011, the Virginia commercial spiny dogfish fishery will close. Based on landing reports from Virginia seafood buyers, it is projected that permitted commercial harvesters will have landed 100% of the 2,148,224 pound state quota by the above date and time.
As provided by Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-42, after the quota has been landed, it shall be unlawful for any person to harvest or to land in Virginia any spiny dogfish for commercial purposes (subsection D) and it shall be unlawful for any buyer of seafood to receive any spiny dogfish (subsection F), through April 30, 2012 (subsection A).
Therefore, after 6:00 P.M., EST, December 7, 2011, it shall be unlawful for any person harvesting spiny dogfish for commercial purposes to possess or land spiny dogfish in Virginia until May 1, 2012.
December 2, 2011: Beginning Sunday, December 4, 2011, all Virginia seafood buyers purchasing spiny dogfish shall call the Commission's interactive voice recording system (1-800-937-9247), on a daily basis, and report the daily harvest purchased from registered commercial fisherman permitted for this fishery, to include the commercial fisherman's registration license number and exact weight of spiny dogfish landed in pounds. The call-in shall continue until it is projected and announced that the Virginia spiny dogfish quota has been landed and the fishery is closed. When calling the interactive voice recording system (1-800-937-9247), first select Option 2, then select Option 6, for reporting daily harvests of spiny dogfish purchased from any registered commercial fisherman. Any outstanding weekly written reports, through Saturday, December 3, 2011, are due to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission by 12:00 P.M. (NOON) EST, Monday, December 5, 2011.
Oct. 26, 2011: Effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, November 14, 2011, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will re-open for vessels with a Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License. The cumulative landing limit for the Directed Fishery is 10,000 pounds in each fifteen-day landing period. The first fifteen-day landing period will begin November 14, 2011, and end November 28, 2011. Subsequent landing periods will be subject to quota availability. For more details, please see the attached opening notice. <Notice>
Oct. 25, 2011: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has voted to open the fall commercial flounder fishery in two weeks, and has put three commercial watermen on probation for a year (and suspended the license of one of them) for failing to report their harvests monthly as required. <Meeting Summary>
Oct. 12, 2011: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission won an Award of Excellence at the State Fair of Virginia for the agency's fascinating, interactive display of common and lesser known fish species found in the Chesapeake Bay. Tens of thousands of fair-goers viewed tanks full of native fish, including black sea bass, pompano, sea robins, flounder, black drum, and marveled at specimens of blue crabs, cownose rays and bluntnose stingrays. Agency fishery staffers were on hand to inform and answer questions. Visitors were allowed to touch prehistoric-looking horseshoe crabs, which are more closely related to spiders than to the tasty blue crab. Officers of the Virginia Marine Police, one of the oldest law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth, dating back to the 1800s, distributed literature, answered questions and promoted boating safety. This was the fifth year in a row that the agency has won an award at the Fair, which ran for 11 days, from Sept. 29 through Oct. 9.
Sept. 27, 2011: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted 9-0 to close the winter crab dredge fishery season for the fourth year in a row. The Commission decided the action was necessary in order to continue to rebuild the crab stock, and that while great progress has been made more work remains to be done to bring the population back to healthy, sustainable levels. Also, the Commission voted 9-0 to set the 2011-2012 oyster season regulations, including a 10 bushel daily limit for most public oyster grounds and a 30 bushel vessel limit. <Oyster Ground Harvest Season Details> <Meeting Summary>
Sept. 23, 2011: Effective 12:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time (EST), Friday, September 23, 2011, the Virginia horseshoe crab trawl fishery will close. Based upon landing reports from Virginia seafood buyers and horseshoe crab harvesters, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 100% of the horseshoe crab trawl quota, by the above date and time. All other horseshoe crab fisheries were closed on June 10, 2011, and as of the above date and time, the entire Virginia horseshoe crab fishery is closed. Therefore, after 12:00 P.M., EST, September 23, 2011, the possession or landing of any horseshoe crabs in Virginia shall be prohibited (Regulation 4 VAC 20-900-10 et. seq.). <Notice>
Sept. 2, 2011: Virginia's commercial fishermen who suffered equipment losses as a direct result of Hurricane Irene should report their losses to their counties. Losses will be tabulated by each county's emergency services coordinators and reported to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Such information may be important in the event disaster assistance becomes available. VMRC has received scattered reports that some commercial fishing gear, particularly large fixed fishing devices such as pound nets, were seriously damaged by the hurricane.