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Public Notice: Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on proposed amendments to the regulations listed below.

In accordance with §28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the adoption of the proposed amendments will be held at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, October 23, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia. Written comments on the proposals should be mailed to: Jack Travelstead, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607. A copy of the proposed amendments may be reviewed at the Commission during 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 offices at (757) 247-2248.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

Regulation 4 VAC 20-510-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia"

The Commission proposes to reduce the possession limit for Cobia from two fish to one fish for commercial and recreational fishermen. In establishing the new limits the Commission will also consider the implementation of vessel limits as an alternative.

The purpose of the proposed regulation is to improve the spawning potential of cobia in Virginia waters, and further discourage the illegal sale of recreationally harvested cobia.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-970-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Spadefish"

The Commission proposes to reduce the possession limit for Spadefish for recreational fishermen and commercial hook-and-line fishermen from six fish to four fish. The Commission also proposes to limit all other commercial harvesters of spadefish to a possession limit of four.

The purpose of the proposed regulation is to extend the recreational fishing season and to reduce overall catch ensuring survival of more spawning fish.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass"

The Commission proposes several alternatives:

A. Replace the individual transferable quota of tags with an individual poundage quota for each participant in the fishery.

B. Reduce proportionally the quantity of tags issued to any striped bass fisherman who exceeds his expected annual harvest in pounds of striped bass.

C. Establish a quota of 98,000 pounds for striped bass harvested in ocean waters .

D. Establish a maximum size limit on the commercial harvest of striped bass.

E. Establish a maximum 7-inch gill net mesh size for the months of February, March and December.

F. Prohibit the temporary transfer of striped bass quota shares (tags).

G. Require the use of two striped bass tags for any striped bass greater than or equal to 28 inches total length but less than 36 inches and three tags for any striped bass greater than or equal to 36 inches total length.

The purpose of the proposed regulations are (1) to reduce or eliminate the inequitable distribution of quota among shareholders that is occurring as a result of high-grading of fish harvested, (2) to reduce the harvest of striped bass in the ocean, (3) to reduce the harvest of older and larger migratory striped bass, and (4) to prevent quota overages.

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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 DEBORAH CAWTHON (757) 2427-2248 NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.



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