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Public Notice: Proposed Amendments to Regulations, January 2008

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

In accordance with 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held at 12:00 Noon, on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at the 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, by 5:00 p.m., Monday, January 21, 2008. Copies of the proposed amendments may be reviewed, at the Commission, Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and may be obtained by calling the Commission at (757) 247-2248.

Regulation 4VAC20-530-10 et seq., "Pertaining to American Shad"

The Commission invites public comment on a proposal to amend Regulation 4VAC20-530-10 et seq. "Pertaining to American Shad". This proposal would eliminate 4VAC20-530-32, which provides for a limited access by-catch fishery for American shad in the Spawning Reaches By-catch Area. This area includes those tidal waters of: 1) the James River, from a line connecting Dancing Point and New Sunken Meadow Creek, upstream to the 14th Street Bridge in Richmond; 2) the York River and its tributaries, from the Rt. 33 Eltham and Lord Delaware bridges at West Point, upstream in the Pamunkey River to a line connecting Liberty Hall and the opposite shore and upstream in the Mattaponi River to the Route 360 bridge at Aylett; and, 3) the Rappahannock River, from the Rt. 360 Downing Bridge at Tappahannock, upstream to the Route 1 Falmouth Bridge. This proposal would not eliminate the limited access by-catch fishery for American shad in the Bycatch area.

Regulation 4VAC20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest"

The Commission requests public comment on an industry proposal to reopen the James River Hand Scrape Area and Thomas Rock Hand Scrape Area, for the months of February and March 2008. The open season, for these areas, was established, by the Commission, as October 1 through December 31, 2007, at a September 2007 public hearing.

Regulation 4VAC20-320-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Black Drum"

The Commission proposes to allow the use of small mesh (< 5 inches, stretched measure) gill nets in the special Management Area defined by section 50 of this regulation. Currently, it shall be unlawful for any person to place, set or fish gill nets or trotlines, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., from May 1 - June 7, within this special management area, and the proposed amendment would allow only small mesh gill nets, in this management area during those times.

Regulation 4VAC20-1040-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing Licenses"

The Commission proposes to establish a control date of December 17, 2007, to serve as a basis for the future development of blue crab regulations. This control date would allow the Commission to use landings and effort data collected under the Commission's mandatory reporting system, either postmarked or received, on or before December 17, 2007, as a basis for the development of regulations in any or all of Virginia's blue crab fisheries, in order to strengthen the existing blue crab management plan. The Commission also proposes to reserve the right to consider any range of qualifying periods, up to December 17, 2007, for the development of additional blue crab fisheries regulations.

VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES; THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS DUE TO A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE BRANDY BATTLE (757) 247-2248 NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.

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