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IMPORTANT NOTE:  Provisions of this emergency regulation are in addition to or supersede the restrictions found in the full version of this regulation.  Both versions should be considered to correctly interpret the regulation.  Click here to see the provisions of the full regulation.

EMERGENCY CHAPTER:  PERTAINING TO HORSESHOE CRABS

VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION
"PERTAINING TO HORSESHOE CRABS"
EMERGENCY CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-900-10 ET. SEQ.

PREAMBLE

This emergency chapter establishes licensing requirements for the harvesting of horseshoe crabs by hand and exemptions from these requirements.  This emergency chapter also establishes commercial fisheries management measures for horseshoe crabs, including an annual commercial quota for horseshoe crabs, that comply with the provisions of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crab.

This emergency chapter is promulgated pursuant to the authority contained in 28.2-201 and 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia.  This emergency chapter amends and re-adopts, as amended, previous Chapter 4 VAC 20-900-10 et seq. which was promulgated March 27, 2012 and made effective on March 28, 2012.  The effective date of this emergency chapter, as amended, is March 29, 2012.

4 VAC 20-900-25. COMMERCIAL FISHERIES MANAGEMENT MEASURES.

A.  It shall be unlawful for any person to harvest horseshoe crabs from any shore or tidal waters of Virginia within 1,000 feet in any direction of the mean low water line from May 1 through June 7. The harvests of horseshoe crabs for biomedical use shall not be subject to this limitation...

B.  From January 1 through June 7 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to land, in Virginia, any horseshoe crab harvested from federal waters.  

C.  Harvests for biomedical purposes shall require a special permit issued by the Commissioner of Marine Resources, and all crabs taken pursuant to such permit shall be returned to the same waters from which they were collected.

D.  The commercial quota of horseshoe crab for 2012 shall be 152,495 horseshoe crabs. Additional quantities of horseshoe crab may be transferred to Virginia by other jurisdictions in accordance with the provisions of Addendum I to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crab, April 2000, provided that the combined total of the commercial quota and transfer from other jurisdictions shall not exceed 355,000 horseshoe crabs.  It shall be unlawful for any person to harvest from Virginia waters, or to land in Virginia, any horseshoe crab for commercial purposes after any calendar-year commercial quota of horseshoe crab has been attained and announced as such. 

E.  It shall be unlawful, for any person, to harvest or land horseshoe crabs, during any calendar year, from waters east of the COLREGS line, except as described in subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection.

1.  It shall be unlawful, for any person, to harvest or land any amount of horseshoe crabs, from waters east of the COLREGS line, by non-trawl gears, as described in subsections A, C, D and E of section 4VAC20-900-36, that exceeds 27.512% of the commercial horseshoe crab quota.

2.  It shall be unlawful, for any person, to harvest or land any amount of horseshoe crabs, from waters east of the COLREGS line, by trawl gears, as described in subsection B of section 4VAC20-900-36, that exceeds 12.488% of the commercial horseshoe crab quota.

3.  It shall be unlawful, for any person, to harvest or land horseshoe crabs, from waters east of the COLREGS line, by any gear, after 40% of Virginia's commercial horseshoe crab quota and any and all transfers of quota have been attained, for this designated area, and announced as such. 

F.  It shall be unlawful for any person whose harvest of horseshoe crabs is from waters east of the COLREGS Line to possess aboard a vessel or to land in Virginia any quantity of horseshoe crabs that, in aggregate, is not comprised of at least a minimum ratio of two male horseshoe crabs to one female horseshoe crab.  For the purposes of this regulation, no horseshoe crab shall be considered a male horseshoe crab unless it possesses at least one modified, hook-like appendage as its first pair of walking legs.

G.  Limitations on the daily harvest and possession of horseshoe crabs for any vessel described below are as follows:

1.  It shall be unlawful for any person who holds a valid unrestricted horseshoe crab endorsement license, as described in 4VAC20-900-30 D, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 2,500, except that when it is projected and announced that 80% of the commercial quota is taken, it shall be unlawful for any person who meets the requirements of 4VAC20-900-30 D and holds a valid horseshoe crab endorsement license to possess aboard any vessel in Virginia any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 1,250.

2.  It shall be unlawful for any person who holds a valid restricted horseshoe crab endorsement license, as described in 4VAC20-900-30 E, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 1,000, except that when it is projected and announced that 80% of the commercial quota is taken, it shall be unlawful for any person who meets the requirements of 4VAC20-900-30 E and holds a valid horseshoe crab endorsement license to possess aboard any vessel in Virginia any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 500.  The harvest of horseshoe crabs, described in this subdivision, shall be restricted to using only crab dredge.

3.  It shall be unlawful for any registered commercial fisherman or seafood landing licensee who does not possess a valid horseshoe crab endorsement license to possess horseshoe crabs, without first obtaining a valid horseshoe crab bycatch permit from the Marine Resources Commission.  It shall be unlawful for a horseshoe crab bycatch permittee to possess aboard any vessel more than 500 horseshoe crabs or for any vessel to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 500 per day except as described in subdivision 4 of this subsection.  When it is projected and announced that 80% of the commercial quota is taken, it shall be unlawful for any person with a horseshoe crab bycatch permit to possess aboard any vessel more than 250 horseshoe crabs or for any vessel to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 250 per day except as described in subdivision 4 of this subsection.

4.  It shall be unlawful for any two horseshoe crab bycatch permittees fishing from the same boat or vessel to possess or land more than 1,000 horseshoe crabs per day.  When it is projected and announced that 80% of the commercial quota is taken, it shall be unlawful for any two horseshoe crab bycatch permittees fishing from the same boat or vessel to possess or land more than 500 horseshoe crabs per day.

5.  It shall be unlawful for any registered commercial fisherman or seafood landing licensee who does not possess a horseshoe crab endorsement license or a horseshoe crab bycatch permit to possess any horseshoe crabs.

6.  It shall be unlawful for any person who possesses a horseshoe crab endorsement license, or a horseshoe crab bycatch permit, to harvest horseshoe crabs by gill net, except as described in subdivisions a and b of this subsection.  

a.  Horseshoe crabs shall only be harvested from a gill net, daily, between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

b.  It shall be unlawful for any person to land horseshoe crabs, caught by a gill net, in excess of 250 horseshoe crabs per day.

H.  It shall be unlawful for any fisherman issued a horseshoe crab endorsement license to offload any horseshoe crabs between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

I.  When it is projected and announced that 32% of the commercial quota, as described in subsection D of this section, has been taken from waters east of the COLREGS line, the limitations on the possession and landing of horseshoe crabs are as follows: 

1.  It shall be unlawful for any person who possesses a valid unrestricted horseshoe crab endorsement license to possess aboard any vessel in waters east of the COLREGS Line or to land more than 1,250 horseshoe crabs per day.

2.  It shall be unlawful for any person who possesses a valid restricted horseshoe crab endorsement license to possess aboard any vessel in waters east of the COLREGS Line or to land more than 500 horseshoe crabs per day.

3.  It shall be unlawful for any person who possesses a valid horseshoe crab bycatch permit to possess aboard any vessel east of the COLREGS Line or to land more than 250 horseshoe crabs per day.

4.  It shall be unlawful for any two horseshoe crab bycatch permittees fishing from the same boat or vessel, east of the COLREGS Line, to possess or land more than 500 horseshoe crabs per day.

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