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Public Notice: Proposed Regulations, April 2010

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposed amendments to regulations 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, April 27, 2010, 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, by 5:00 p.m., Monday, April 26, 2010.  Copies of the proposed regulations 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.

A.  Chapter 4VAC20-20-10 et seq. "Pertaining to The Licensing of Fixed Fishing Devices"

The Commission proposes to require any fixed fishing device, including but not limited to pound net and fyke net gear, licensed and fished in Virginia tidal waters located west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, shall be equipped with a modified leader as defined in 4VAC20-20-20.  In addition, it shall be the responsibility of the licensee of any fixed fishing device licensed in Virginia tidal waters located west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel to contact the Virginia Marine Police and the National Marine Fisheries Service at least 72 hours before any modified leader is to be deployed for an inspection of the fixed fishing device's leader design, prior to any initial or subsequent deployment of that fixed fishing device within any year.  The purpose of these amendments is to reduce entanglements of marine mammals (specifically bottlenose dolphin) and threatened and endangered marine sea turtles.

B.  Chapter 4VAC20-1190-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Gill Net Control Date, Limited Entry and Transfers"

The Commission will consider a proposal that allows for any combination of all gill net licenses registered to all gill net Class A or Class B permittees on board a vessel to be limited to no more than 12,000 feet.

Currently, it is unlawful for more than one gill net limited entry permittee, aboard any vessel, at any time, to set, place or fish any gill nets, except those legally licensed to only one gill net permittee.

C.  Chapters 4VAC20-490-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Sharks".

The Commission proposes prohibiting the use of agents for the spiny dogfish limited entry permit, and allowing exceptions by the Commissioner, or his designee, to the no permit transfer provision for significant and documented unforeseen hardships.  Hardships may include problems associated with health or a call to active military duty.  Exception may also be granted to an immediate member of his or her family desiring to continue the fishing business at the time of death of the registered license holder.

DChapter 4VAC20-560-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Shellfish Management Areas".

The Commission will hold a public hearing on an industry-based request to extend the 2010 clam patent tong season in the Newport News Shellfish Management Area through June 30, 2010.  Currently that season extends through April 30, 2010.

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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 BETTY WARREN (757-247-2248) NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.

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