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Public Notice:  Proposed Regulations, June 2016

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the establishment of amendments to regulations, as proposed below. By June 13, 2016, the proposed draft regulations may be viewed at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia.

In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held no earlier than 12:00 noon, on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia. Public comments on the proposals should be provided to Robert L. O’Reilly, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607, by 12:00 p.m., Monday, June 27, 2016.

I. Chapters 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Crabbing”; 4 VAC 20-1140-10 et seq., “Prohibition of Crab Dredging in Virginia Waters”; 4 VAC 20-670-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Recreational Gear Licenses”; 4 VAC 20-30-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Licensing of Crab Traps and Pounds”; 4 VAC 20-460-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Use of Crab Traps and Pounds.”

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Crabbing” to lengthen the fishing season for licensed commercial harvesters who are legally licensed to commercially take and harvest blue crab by crab pots or other commercial gear.

Another amendment to this chapter would provide an exception, for crab trap (or pound) licensees, that allows those crab trap licensees to set or place ancillary crab trap gear, other than the head or retention box, up to two weeks prior to the starting date of the season for this gear type. This same exception would be incorporated in Chapter 4 VAC 20-460-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Use of Crab Traps and Pounds.”

The Commission proposes to incorporate the provisions of Chapter 4 VAC 20-30-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Licensing of Crab Traps and Pounds” into Chapter 4 VAC 20-460-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Use of Crab Traps and Pounds”, and rescind Chapter 4 VAC 20-30-10 et seq.

The Commission must decide whether to close the 2016-2017 crab dredge fishery season, and this would require an amendment of Chapter 4 VAC 20-1140-10 et seq., “Prohibition of Crab Dredging in Virginia Waters.” This winter fishery season has been closed each season since the 2008-2009 season.

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-670-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Recreational Gear Licenses” to allow for a lengthening of the recreational fishing season for individuals who are licensed for a 5-crab pot recreational license and a removal of the Sunday prohibition on harvest for these same licensees.

The purpose of these amendments is to maintain consistency with section 28.2-203.1; Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan.

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VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES; THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS BECAUSE OF A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE JANE MCCROSKEY (757-247-2215) NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.


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