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COMMISSION ACTIONS AUGUST 2013

The following are the agenda items from the Commission's regular meeting held August 27, 2013 at Commission headquarters.  The Commission's actions are in bold.

* COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD STARTED THE MEETING BY CONGRATULATING VIRGINIA MARINE POLICE CHIEF RICK LAUDERMAN FOR THE EXCELLENT WORK HE DID TO GARNER THE AGENCY A CERTIFICATE OF MERIT FROM THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.  IN EVALUATING ALL STATE AGENCIES ON THEIR FORMAL PLANS TO CONTINUE UNBROKEN OPERATIONS IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCIES, INCLUDING PHYSICAL SECURITY, RECORDS RETENTION, PRESERVATION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION AND THE LIKE, THE DEPARTMENT CONCLUDED THAT THE MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION IS ONE OF THE TOP PERFORMERS OF ALL STATE AGENCIES IN THIS REGARD.
[Audio Commissioner Travelstead's Comments]

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS ADVERTISED.
[Audio Agenda]

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION’S JULY MEETING WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER BOBBY BECK ABSTAINED.
[Audio Item 1]

2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  A SINGLE SO-CALLED PAGE TWO AGENDA ITEM, DELINEATED BELOW AS 2A, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #13-0982, WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY. 
[Audio Item 2]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSNONE.
[Audio Item 3-4]

4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY COUNSEL.  NONE.

5.  DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #13-0837, requests authorization to impact 500 square feet of State-owned submerged land and 500 square feet of non-vegetated wetlands as a result of the installation of 100 linear feet of riprap revetment extending a maximum of ten feet channelward of mean low water adjacent to Building 252 and Wharf 1 at St. Juliens Creek Annex situated along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake.  The project requires a Subaqueous and Wetlands permit.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED.
[Audio Item 5]

6.  MATHEWS LAND CONSERVANCY, #12-1539.  Appeal by 40 freeholders of the Mathews County Wetlands Board decision to approve the installation of a rowing and sailing center on pilings extending over intertidal wetlands along the East River at 1039 Williams Wharf Road.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO UPHOLD THE DECISION OF THE MATHEWS WETLANDS BOARD.  COLONEL STEVE WILSON TESTIFIED ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANTS.  MR. JIM SMITH SPOKE ON BEHALF OF THE APPLICANTS AND THEY WERE REPRESENTED BY THEIR LEGAL COUNSEL MR. LEE STEPHENS.  MR. KEN KURKOWSKI SPOKE ON BEHALF OF THE MATHEWS WETLANDS BOARD.
[Audio Item 6]

7.  FIRST SIMPLE CHURCH, #13-0625, requests authorization to install a 5-foot wide by 77-foot long church community pier extending a maximum of 67 feet channelward of mean low water with a 14-foot by 6-foot L-head and two (2) sets of 4-foot wide stairs adjacent to property situated along the Chickahominy River at 16401 Chickahominy Bluff Road in Charles City County.  The project is protested by six nearby property owners.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED.  MR. ROBERT CHILDS, MS. DEBBIE FRYE, MS. CINDY STEGER, MS. STEPHANIE BARBER, AND DR. SAM FRYE SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF THE PROJECT.  MS. DORIS FULWIDER, MS. INGE CURTIS, MR. JOHN SPENSER, MR. DEWEY CLEMMONS AND MR. DONALD CHARITY SPOKE IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT.  THE COMMISSION ALSO ASSESSED A ROYALTY OF $0.30 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE PIER OVER STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND.
[Audio Item 7]

8.  MARK THOMPSON, #13-0258. Appeal of the Mathews County Wetlands Board decision to deny an 8-foot wide boat ramp and associated scour protection along Milford Haven at 520 Old Ferry Road.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 5-1, WITH ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER TANKARD VOTING NO, TO OVERTURN THE DECISION OF THE MATHEWS WETLANDS BOARD AND DIRECTED ISSUANCE OF THE PERMIT.  IN OVERTURNING THE DECISION, THE COMMISSION FOUND THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION IN THE RECORD TO DEMONSTRATE DETRIMENTAL IMPACTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROPOSED STRUCTURE.  MR. THOMPSON SPOKE ON HIS OWN BEHALF AND HE WAS REPRESENTED BY HIS LEGAL COUNSEL, MR. CONRAD BAREFORD.  MR. TED BRODERSON REPRESENTED THE MATHEWS WETLANDS BOARD. 
[Audio Item 8]

9.  WILLIAM K. CARR, #2013-026 and NOAH C. CARR, JR., #2013-075, request authorization to lease oyster planting grounds of up to 250.00 acres and 25.00 acres respectively within the James River near Huntington Park upstream of the James River Bridge in the City of Newport News.  Application #2013-026 is protested by Richard Green, an adjacent leaseholder, and application #2013-075 is protested by numerous parties (by signed petition).  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE BOTH LEASE APPLICATIONS.  MR. KENT CARR AND MR. NOAH CARR SPOKE ON THEIR OWN BEHALF.  MR. RICHARD GREEN SPOKE AGAINST BOTH LEASES.
[Audio Item 9]

10.  PUBLIC COMMENTS:  WATERMAN KENT CARR EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OVER OYSTER ICING REQUIREMENTS DURING WARM WATER MONTHS, AND THE COMMISSION TO EXAMINE HARVEST REPORTS.

ALSO, WATERMAN JOHN FORREST URGED THE COMMISSION TO TOUR AN OYSTER LARVAE HATCHERY ON GWYNN’S ISLAND, AND HE REPORTED HE HAS HEARD THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH FINDING MARKETS FOR COMMERCIALLY CAUGHT SPINY DOGFISH.

COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD TOLD HIM SOME EUROPEAN BUYERS HAVE HALTED PURCHASES OF SPINY DOGFISH FROM U.S. SUPPLIERS, AND THAT IT IS AN MATTER OF CONCERN.

[Audio Item 10]

11.  FAILURE TO REPORT:  Cases involving failure to report commercial harvests, in accordance with Chapter 4VAC20-610-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting.”  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO SUSPEND A COMMERCIAL WATERMAN’S LICENSE FOR SIX MONTHS FOR REPEATEDLY FAILING TO FILE TIMELY MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTS WHILE ON TWO YEARS OF PROBATION FOR FAILING TO FILE MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTS AS REQUIRED. THE COMMISSION ALSO PLACED TWO OTHER WATERMEN ON PROBATION FOR TWO YEARS FOR FAILING TO FILE MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTS.
[Audio Item 11]

12.  PUBLIC HEARING:  (1) Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest," to establish the 2013-2014 public areas harvest seasons and (2) proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-260-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Designation of Seed and Clean Cull Areas," to modify oyster culling procedures.” THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO SET THE 2014 PUBLIC OYSTER HARVEST SEASON REGULATIONS WITH FEW CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR’S, EXCEPT FOR THE OPENING OF THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED 2014 ROTATIONAL HARVEST AREAS IN THE RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER, YORK RIVER AND TANGIER/POCOMOKE SOUNDS AND THE COMMISSION ALSO AGREED TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE NEXT MONTH ON ESTABLISHING TWO NEW ROTATIONAL OYSTER HARVEST AREAS IN POCOMOKE SOUND WEST OF SAXIS, AT THE INDUSTRY’S REQUEST.

ALSO, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ALLOW OYSTER HARVESTERS TO USE PLASTIC “ORANGE” BASKETS AS AN OPTION TO HOLD HARVESTED OYSTERS IN THEIR VESSELS PRIOR TO LANDING.  HARVESTERS MAY CONTINUE TO KEEP THE HARVESTED OYSTERS LOOSE IN A PILE IN THE BOAT UNTIL LANDING.  ONCE LANDED, ALL OYSTERS MUST BE TUBBED PRIOR TO SALE IN VIRGINIA BUSHEL TUBS.  WATERMEN HAD LONG SOUGHT TO BE ALLOWED TO USE COMMON PLASTIC “ORANGE” BASKETS, ALTHOUGH THE BASKETS DO NOT HAVE TO BE THAT COLOR.
[Audio Item 12]

13. DISCUSSION:  Recommendations From the Law Enforcement Subcommittee Involving The Schedule for Revocation of Licenses, as Authorized by Section 28.2-232 of the Code of Virginia.  AFTER A BRIEFING ON LAW ENFORCEMENT ISSUES BY FISHERIES CHIEF ROB O’REILLY, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADOPT STRICTER GUIDELINES ON DEALING WITH EGREGIOUS OR REPEAT VIOLATORS OF FISHERY REGULATIONS.  THE GUIDELINES CALL FOR THE MOST EGREGIOUS VIOLATORS, ONCE CONVICTED, TO BE BROUGHT BEFORE THE COMMISSION FOR A HEARING AND POTENTIAL LICENSE SUSPENSION UP TO TWO YEARS ON A FIRST OFFENSE.  THE MOST EGREGIOUS OFFENSES ARE THOSE THAT POTENTIALLY IMPACT HUMAN HEALTH OR THE HEALTH OF IMPORTANT FINFISH OR SHELLFISH STOCKS.

LESS EGREGIOUS VIOLATIONS WOULD TRIGGER A LICENSE SUSPENSION HEARING ON A SECOND OFFENSE. SINCE 1996, COMMISSION POLICY HAS BEEN TO HOLD LICENSE SUSPENSION HEARINGS ON EVENT OF THREE CONVICTIONS OF ANY FISHERY REGULATIONS, WHICH WILL STILL BE THE CASE UNDER THE NEWLY ADOPTED GUIDELINES.

THESE GUIDELINES ARE INTENDED TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF LICENSE SUSPENSION HEARINGS IN ORDER TO CRACK DOWN ON POACHING, HARVESTING OYSTERS FROM CONDEMNED AREAS AND OTHER EGREGIOUS OFFENSES.

THE EGREGIOUSNESS OF VARIOUS VIOLATIONS WAS ESTABLISHED THROUGH SURVEYS OF THE AGENCY'S ADVISORY COMMITTEES AND THE INPUT OF THE VIRGINIA MARINE POLICE.
[Audio Item 13]

14.  DISCUSSION:  Proposed recommendations for the 2013 - 2014 commercial blue crab fishery, to include a Commission decision on a staff proposal to establish a limited winter crab dredge fishery season.  THE COMMISSION AGREED TO ADVERTISE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT AND AN OCTOBER PUBLIC HEARING ON A STAFF PROPOSAL TO LIFT A FIVE-YEAR MORATORIUM AND ALLOW A LIMITED, TIGHTLY CONTROLLED WINTER DREDGE CRAB FISHERY OF UP TO 1.5 MILLION POUNDS, WHICH WOULD BE OFFSET BY SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTIONS IN THE DAILY BUSHEL LIMITS FOR CRAB POTTERS DURING THE REST OF THE SEASON.

IF APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION IN OCTOBER, THE NUMBER OF CRAB DREDGERS WOULD BE LIMITED, AND THEY WOULD BE CONFINED TO DESIGNATED MUD BOTTOMS IN ORDER TO LIMIT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE GEAR AND TO LIMIT THE DAMAGE THE DREDGE GEAR WOULD CAUSE TO CRABS LEFT ON THE BOTTOM.  ALSO, WOULD HAVE TO BE ON BOARD DURING DREDGING AND THEIR VMRC ID NUMBERS WOULD HAVE TO BE PAINTED ON THE ROOFS OF THEIR VESSELS IN ORDER TO FACILITY AERIAL SURVEILLANCE BY THE VIRGINIA MARINE POLICE.
[Audio Item 14a | Audio Item 14b]

15.  REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-960-10, “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass,” to allow for the culture of black sea bass by permitted aquaculture facilities.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND A VOTE NEXT MONTH TO ALLOW FOR THE CULTURE OF BLACK SEA BASS FOR PERMITTED AQUACULTURE FACILITIES.
[Audio Item 15]

16.  SETTING DATE OF NOVEMBER/DECEMBER COMMISSION MEETING.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A COMBINED NOVEMBER/DECEMBER MEETING ON DECEMBER 10.
[Audio Item 16]

THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE 2 AGENDA ITEM (PROJECTS OVER $500,000 WITH NO OBJECTIONS AND WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL) WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A.  DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #13-0982, requests authorization to directionally drill two (2) 34.5 KV submarine power distribution cables beneath a 2,310-foot section of Little Creek Cove within Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach.  There will be no direct impacts to the waterway in this effort to upgrade the Base’s electrical power distribution system.

THERE WERE NO PAGE THREE CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS.

NONE



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