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Publice Notice: Proposed Amendments to Regulations, September 2007

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposals listed below. In accordance with 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing, on all the proposals outlined below, will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 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, September 24, 2007. 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 4VAC20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass"

The Commission invites public comment on three conservation options, designed to reduce harvest in the 2007 Fall Chesapeake Area Recreational Striped Bass Fishery. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the 2006 recreational harvest of striped bass was 2,425,547 pounds. The 2007 recreational striped bass quota is 1,554,302 pounds. That means there is a difference of 871,245 pounds between the most recent harvest and current quota. The three options are as follows:

Option

Description

1

A no-take slot limit, between 28 and 34 inches T.L., and a 1-fish limit, from December 10 through December 31

2

A no-take slot limit, between 28 and 34 inches T.L., and a 1-fish limit, from December 1 through 31

3

A no-take slot limit, between 28 and 34 inches T.L., and a closure, from December 25 through December 31

Cast your vote online for one of three proposed conservation options being considered by the Commission to reduce recreational harvest of Striped Bass. To vote, you must register with the VA Saltwater Journal. Once logged in, you can cast your vote and let your opinion be heard. <More>

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

The Commission proposes the following amendments to the regulation:

  1. To establish open harvest seasons in the James River, Rappahannock River, Nomini River, Chesapeake Bay (Blackberry Hangs and Deep Rock), York River, Tangier - Pocomoke Sounds and the seaside of the Eastern Shore. The proposed seasons are October 1 - November 30 for each area; however, the Commission will consider alternate season dates.
  2. To establish 9 rotational harvest areas in the Rappahannock River and permanent by closed oyster sanctuaries, within each rotational harvest area. Only two of the rotating areas will be open to oyster harvest, within any one year.
  3. To require a permit of any person harvesting oysters in the open Rappahannock River rotational harvest areas.
  4. To limit the number of fishermen who may participate in the lower Rappahannock River rotational harvest season by restricting entry to fishermen who have oystered in the Rappahannock River at least one year from 2002 through 2006. The Commission will consider additional means to limit entry in this fishery.
  5. To establish 3 rotational harvest areas in Tangier - Pocomoke Sounds and open only one of those areas each year.
  6. To open Deep Rock to oyster harvest by patent tong only.

Regulation 4VAC20-260-20 et seq., "Pertaining to Designation of Seed Areas and Clean Cull Areas"

The Commission proposes to amend this regulation to establish a 4.25 - inch maximum size limit on oysters harvested from the lower Rappahannock River.

Regulation 4VAC20-650-10 et seq., "Establishment of Oyster Management Areas"

The Commission proposes the following amendments to the regulation:

  1. To redefine certain Management Areas as Sanctuary Areas.
  2. To amend the penalties for violation of the regulation, to require the return to the water of all oysters in possession of any person violating this regulation and to require that the person cease harvesting on that day.
  3. To reduce the buffer zone around oyster sanctuaries, within which it is unlawful to possess any gear that could be used to harvest oysters, from 300 feet to 100 feet.

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

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