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Public Notice: Pertaining to the Relaying of Shellfish

NOTICE

Notice is hereby given that the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) will consider the following amendments to Regulation 4VAC 20-310-10, ET. SEQ., "Pertaining to the Relaying of Shellfish". The proposed changes to the regulation are being made to establish relaying procedures for the depuration of shellfish raised by aquaculture methods in condemned waters.

The Commission will consider the proposed amended regulation and any other comments from individuals interested in this matter at a public hearing to be held at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2000. The public hearing will be held in the main office of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission on the 4th Floor at 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News.   Shellfish items are scheduled to be heard after 12 noon.

Please call or submit written comments or questions regarding this proposed amended regulation to Dr. James A. Wesson, VMRC - Conservation and Replenishment Department, P. O. Box 756, Newport News, VA 23607-0756; (757)-247-2121; e-mail address: jwesson@mrc.state.va.us; fax: 757-247-8101.

THE COMPLETE AMENDED REGULATION, AS PROPOSED, CAN BE REQUESTED FROM THE VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION (757-247-2120) OR IS AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW AT THE VMRC MAIN OFFICE AT 2600 WASHINGTON AVENUE, NEWPORT NEWS ( 3RD FLOOR).

The proposed effective date for the following regulation is May15, 2000.

REGULATION 4VAC 20-310-10 ET. SEQ.

PERTAINING TO THE RELAYING OF SHELLFISH

4VAC 20-310-30 ON-BOTTOM CONTAINER CONSTRUCTION:

A. On-bottom container size shall not exceed four feet (4') by four feet (4') by one foot (1') (16 cubic feet).

B. On-bottom containers shall not be solid-walled, but shall be constructed of a mesh material of sufficient size not to restrict water flow.

1. Mesh size shall not be less than one inch (1") measured diagonally across the longest axis of square, rectangular, or diamond shaped mesh nor less than one inch (1") diameter for circular mesh.

2. Construction material shall be non-toxic and not retard shellfish pumping rates.

3. On-bottom containers shall be frequently cleaned and maintained in such a manner that fouling does not accumulate to the degree that water flow through the on-bottom container is impeded or fill line markers are obscured.

C. On-bottom containers height (excluding any legs or skids) shall be no greater than twelve inches (12"). The on-bottom container shall be marked permanently on the inside surface supporting the shellfish at the 6-inch level (measured from the bottom) around the inside perimeter of the cage in such a manner as to be clearly visible.

D. Each on-bottom container shall be fitted with skids or legs to hold the on-bottom container off-bottom and constructed in a manner that will not restrict water flow under the on-bottom container.

l. Skids shall be no smaller than four inches (4") by four inches (4"); legs shall be no shorter than four inches (4").

2. Skids or legs may be larger to assure the on-bottom container does not rest on-bottom, but cannot be so large as to place the on-bottom container at a depth that could constitute a hazard to navigation.

E. Access to each on-bottom container shall be designed so that it can be secured with a standard Marine Resources Commission seal and that the on-bottom container cannot be opened without breaking the seal.

4VAC 20-310-35 OFF-BOTTOM OR FLOATING CONTAINER CONSTRUCTION:

A. Off-bottom or floating container size shall not exceed two feet (2') by 8 feet (8') by one foot (1') (16 cu. feet).

B. Off-bottom or floating containers shall not be solid-walled, but shall be constructed of a mesh material of sufficient size not to restrict water flow.

1. Mesh size shall not be less than one inch (1") measured diagonally across the longest axis of square, rectangular, or diamond shaped mesh nor less than one inch (1") diameter for circular width.

2. Construction shall be non-toxic and not retard shellfish pumping rates.

3. Off-bottom or floating containers shall be frequently cleaned and maintained in such a manner that fouling does not accumulate to the degree that water flow through the container is impeded or fill line markers are observed.

C. Each off-bottom or floating container shall be attached in such a way as to not restrict waterflow.

D. For commercial purposes, access to each off-bottom or floating container shall be designed so that it can be secured with a standard Marine Resources Commission seal tag and that the container cannot be opened without breaking the seal(s).

E. For private non-commercial purposes the container should be marked with a yellow flag for the entire relay period.

4VAC 20-310-50 HARVEST:

B. Non-commercial -- Private Use

1. Non-commercial relaying activity will be permitted from June 1 through September 30. All containers shall remain in the clean relay area for a minimum of l5 consecutive days. In the event the clean relay area is closed due to a pollution event during the relay process, the 15 day relay period shall start over when the area is reopened.

2. Requests should be made to the local Marine Patrol office to obtain a non-commercial relay permit. The Marine Patrol Officer will then approve the clean relay site. The Conservation and Replenishment Department at the VMRC main office can be contacted to obtain the report forms that must be completed to receive a permit to remove the shellfish. These reports, completed and signed, shall be returned in a timely manner to the Conservation and Replenishment Department to avoid delay in receiving a Virginia Department of Health permit for removing the shellfish.

3. No shellfish shall be harvested until a permit to remove the shellfish is received from the Virginia Department of Health. After the 15 days relay period and receipt of the permit, the yellow flag may be removed and the shellfish harvested.

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VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES; THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS DUE TO A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE KATHERINE LEONARD (757) 247-2120, NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.

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