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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 RESTRICTIONS ON OYSTER HARVEST

VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION
"PERTAINING TO RESTRICTIONS ON OYSTER HARVEST"
EMERGENCY CHAPTER 4VAC 20-720-10 ET. SEQ.

PREAMBLE

This emergency chapter establishes times of closure and other restrictions, for conservation purposes, on the harvest of oysters from all oyster grounds in the tidal waters of the Commonwealth. This emergency chapter is promulgated pursuant to authority contained in §§ 28.2-201, 28.2-518, 28.2-507, and 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia. This emergency chapter amends and re-adopts, as amended, previous Chapter 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq., which was adopted August 26, 2014 and effective October 1, 2014. The effective date of this emergency chapter, as amended, is February 24, 2015.

4 VAC 20-720-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this emergency chapter is to conserve Virginia's oyster resources, especially oyster broodstock.

4 VAC 20-720-15. Control Date.

A. The Commission hereby establishes July 1, 2014, as the control date for management of all public oyster fisheries in Virginia. Participation by any individual in any public oyster fishery after the control date will not be considered in the calculation or distribution of oyster fishing rights should entry limitations be established. Any individual entering the public oyster fishery after the control date will forfeit any right to future participation in the public oyster fishery should further entry limitations be established by the Commission.

B. The sale of oyster hand scrape and oyster dredge licenses shall be suspended until the Commission reinstates the sale of those licenses.

4 VAC 20-720-40. Open oyster harvest season and areas.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to harvest oysters from public and unassigned grounds outside of the seasons and areas set forth in this section.

B. It shall be unlawful to harvest clean cull oysters from the public oyster grounds and unassigned grounds except during the lawful seasons and from the lawful areas as described in the following subdivisions of this subsection.

1. James River Seed Area, including the Deep Water Shoal State Replenishment Seed Area: October 1, 2014, through April 30, 2015.

2. James River Area and the Thomas Rock Area (James River): November 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015.

3. York River Rotation Area 1: January 1, 2015, through March 13, 2015.

4. Milford Haven: December 1, 2014, through March 13, 2015.

5. Deep Rock Area: December 1, 2014, through March 13, 2015.

6. Rappahannock River Rotation Area 1: October 1, 2014, through November 30, 2014.

7. Rappahannock River Rotation Area 6: November 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

8. Rappahannock River Area 7: December 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015.

9. Rappahannock River Area 8: January 1, 2015, through March 13, 2015.

10. Rappahannock River Area 9: November 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

11. Great Wicomico River Area: December 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015.

12. Upper Chesapeake Bay - Blackberry Hangs Area: December 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015.

13. Little Wicomico River: October 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

14. Coan River: October 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

15. Yeocomico River: October 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

16. Nomini Creek: October 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

17. Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds Rotation Area 2: December 1, 2014, through March 13, 2015.

18. Seaside of the Eastern Shore (for clean cull oysters only): November 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.

C. It shall be unlawful to harvest seed oysters from the public oyster grounds or unassigned grounds except during the lawful seasons. The harvest of seed oysters from the lawful areas is described in the following subdivisions of this subsection.

1. James River Seed Area, October 1, 2014, through May 31, 2015.

2. Deep Water Shoal State Replenishment Seed Area: October 1, 2014, through May 31, 2015.

4 VAC 20-720-110. Penalty.

A. As set forth in § 28.2-903 of the Code of Virginia, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter committed by the same person within 12 months of a prior violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. In addition to the penalty prescribed by law, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall destroy, in the presence of a marine police officer, all shellfish in his possession, or, at the direction of the marine police officer, shall place the shellfish overboard on the nearest oyster sanctuary or closed shellfish area, and shall cease harvesting on that day. All harvesting apparatus may be subject to seizure, and, pursuant to § 28.2-232 of the Code of Virginia, all licenses and permits may be subject to revocation following a hearing before the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

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