The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposed regulatory actions listed below.
In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, September 23, 1997 at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News. Written comments on these proposals should be mailed to Jack Travelstead, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, P. O. Box 756, Newport News, Virginia 23607. A copy of the proposed regulations may be reviewed at the Commission, Monday through Friday, 8:15 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Persons interested in obtaining a copy of the proposed regulations may call the Commission at (757) 247-2248.
Purpose of the Proposed Regulations: The purpose of the below listed proposed regulatory actions is to establish a viable commercial hook-and-line fishery in Virginia tidal waters while minimizing the potential for overfishing of Virginia fishery stocks and conflicts with the recreational fishery.
The Commission proposes:
1. To amend the following regulations: 4 VAC 20-620-60, "Pertaining to Summer Flounder," 4 VAC 20-380-60, "Pertaining to Gray Trout," and 4 VAC 20-450-20, "Pertaining to the Taking of Bluefish" to eliminate the requirement that commercial hook-and-line fishermen be limited to the recreational fishing possession limits for these species.
2. To limit the sale of commercial hook-and-line licenses for 1998 and each year thereafter to persons who are registered commercial fishermen who held a 1996 commercial hook-and-line license or who held a 1997 commercial hook-and-line license issued prior to August 26, 1997. Beginning January 1, 1998, such licenses may be transferred, traded, bought or sold when such transaction is documented on a form provided by the Commission and such transaction is approved by the Commission.
3. To establish general prohibitions, such that it shall be unlawful for any person licensed and fishing as a commercial hook-and-line fisherman to do any of the following:
a. Fail to be on board the vessel when that vessel is operating in a commercial hook-and-line capacity.
b. Have more than two new members, including the operator, on board.
c. Fail to display prominently, the commercial hook-and-line license plate on the starboard side of the vessel.
d. Fish within 300 yards of any bridge, bridge-tunnel, jetty or pier from 6:00 P.M. Friday through 6:00 P.M. Sunday.
e. Fish within 300 yards of any fixed fishing device.
f. Use any hydraulic fishing gear or deck mounted fishing equipment.
g. Use any fishing rod-and-reel or hand line with more than six hooks.
4. To amend regulation 4 VAC 20-970-30 to permanently establish a 6 fish possession limit on spadefish taken by commercial hook-and-line.
5. To prohibit the selling of fish taken by spear fishing methods.
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VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION DUE TO A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE DEBORAH CAWTHON (757) 247-2248 NO LESS THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING TIME AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEED.