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Public Notice:  Proposed Regulations, August 2012

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, August 28, 2012, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia.  Written comments on the proposals should be mailed to Robert L. O'Reilly, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607, by 5:00 p.m., Monday, August 27, 2012.  Copies of the proposed regulations may be reviewed at the Commission Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and may be obtained by calling the Commission at (757) 247-2248.

I.  Chapter 4VAC20-560-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Shellfish Management Areas"

The Commission shall consider closing the York River Shellfish Management Area to the taking of clams by patent tong, as commercial quantities of oysters are present in this area.

II.  Chapter 4VAC20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest"
 
The Commission shall consider the following proposal for the 2012-2013 area-specific public oyster harvest seasons, as well as other area-specific oyster harvest season strategies and other management measures, such as reducing the daily bushel harvest limit, for each Commercial Fisherman Registered Licensee, from ten bushels of clean cull oysters in 2011-2012 to eight bushels of clean cull oysters in 2012-2013, with a maximum daily limit of 24 bushels of clean cull oysters per vessel.

The lawful seasons and areas for the harvest of oysters from the public oyster grounds and unassigned grounds are as follows: 

1)  James River Seed Area, including the Deep Water Shoal State Replenishment Seed Area: October 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013.

2)  James River Hand Scrape Area and the Thomas Rock Hand Scrape Area (James River): November 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

3)  York River Hand Scrape Area 1: January 1, 2013 through February 28, 2013.

4)  Milford Haven: December 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013.

5)  Deep Rock Patent Tong Area: December 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013.

6)  Rappahannock River Rotation Area 3: November 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

7)  Rappahannock River Rotation Area 5: October 1, 2012 through November 30, 2012.

8)  Rappahannock River Area 7: December 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

9)  Rappahannock River Area 8: December 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

10)  Rappahannock River Area 9: November 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

11)  Great Wicomico River Hand Scrape Area: December 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

12)  Upper Chesapeake Bay, Blackberry Hangs Hand Scrape Area: December 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

13)  Little Wicomico River: October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

14)  Coan River: October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

15)  Yeocomico River: October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

16)  Nomini River: October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

17)  Tangier-Pocomoke Sounds Rotation Area 2: December 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013.

18)  Seaside of Eastern Shore: (For clean cull oysters only) November 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013.

III.  Chapter 4VAC20-260-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the designation of Seed Areas and Clean Cull Areas.

The Commission shall consider allowing any harvester, while on board the vessel, to cull oysters into basket containers.  Basket containers would be inspected, at random, by Marine Police officers, all oysters on the vessel would be subject to disposal overboard, for any culling violation.

IV.  Chapter 4VAC20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass".

The Commission shall consider allowing the recreational harvest of striped bass by spear fishing.  Should the Commission authorize spear fishing for striped bass, spear fishermen would observe the legal size, season and possession limits, and amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-252-10 et seq. would be required.

Currently, it is lawful for any person to take any fish recreationally, except striped bass and sharks, by spear fishing methods, provided that person complies with all recreational regulations pertaining to size, season, and possession limits.

V.  Chapter 4VAC20-110-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Lobsters".

The Commission shall consider amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-110-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Lobsters" to modify lobster management measures, for compliance with federal management requirements.  Proposed amendments will include:  1) incorporating federally-designated lobster conservation management areas into this chapter;  2) requiring V-notching and immediate release of all egg-bearing female lobsters, as of September 1, 2012;  3) establishing, for male and female lobsters, a minimum possession size limit of 3 17/32 inches carapace length and a maximum possession size limit of 5 inches; and establishing a closed season to the landing of lobsters, from February 1 through March 31.

Currently, it is unlawful for any person to notch or provide any marking of lobster.  The minimum size limit is currently 3⅜ inches carapace length and there is a maximum size limit of 5 inches, that only applies to female lobsters.  Currently there is no closed season.

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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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