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Public Notice:  Proposed Regulations, September 2011

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, September 27, 2011, 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, September 26, 2011.  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.

This notice is being re-advertised, as the August 23, 2011 Commission meeting was cancelled because of the earthquake.

I.  Establish regulations for the commercial and recreational harvest of blue crabs.
Amendments to the following regulations are proposed: 

Chapter 4VAC20-140-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Identification of Crab Pots, Peeler Pots and Fish Pots"
Chapter 4VAC20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing"
Chapter 4VAC20-370-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Culling of Crabs"
Chapter 4VAC20-752-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Blue Crab Sanctuaries"
Chapter 4VAC20-1040-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing Licenses"
Chapter 4VAC20-1140-10 et seq., "Prohibition of Crab Dredging in Virginia Waters"

The Commission proposes to amend:

A.  Chapter 4VAC20-140-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Identification of Crab Pots, Peeler Pots and Fish Pots", to consider allowing licensed Maryland commercial crab harvesters to retain Maryland identification on crab pot and peeler pot buoys and stakes, while tending and fishing pots in Virginia waters. 

B.  Chapter 4VAC20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing", to establish a 5-day maximum tending requirement for the crab pot and peeler pot gears.  Currently, there is no tending requirement, and such a requirement would promote habitat and natural resource conservation.

C.  Chapter 4VAC20-370-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Culling of Crabs", to revise the requirements of crab culling that are currently too general to allow effective enforcement and do not promote adequate conservation of sub-legal and sponge crabs.

D.  Chapter 4VAC20-752-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Blue Crab Sanctuaries", to re-assign the latitude-longitude coordinates that apply to physical markers of the Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuaries. 

E.  Chapter 4VAC20-1040-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing Licenses", to determine whether reinstatement of license eligibility to those individuals on the crab pot and peeler pot waiting lists is supported by the biological status of the crab stock or management requirements for that stock. 

F.  Chapter 4VAC20-1140-10 et seq., "Prohibition of Crab Dredging in Virginia Waters", to close the crab dredge fishery for the December 2011 through March 2012 season.  This fishery has been closed the previous three seasons by the Commission.

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

The Commission will consider the following proposal for the 2011-2012 area-specific public oyster harvest seasons, as well as other area-specific oyster harvest season strategies and other management measures, such as reducing the bushel harvest limit for each Commercial Fisherman Registered Licensee from ten bushels to eight bushels.

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, 2011 through April 30, 2012.
2) James River Hand Scrape Area and the Thomas Rock Hand Scrape Area (James River):  November 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012.
3) York River Hand Scrape Area:  January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012.
4) Mobjack Bay Hand Scrape Area:  January 1, 2012 through January 31, 2012.
5) Milford Haven:  December 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012.
6) Deep Rock Patent Tong Area:  December 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012.
7) Rappahannock River Rotation Area 1:  October 1, 2011 through November 30, 2011.
8) Rappahannock River Rotation Area 2:  November 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
9) Rappahannock River Area 7:  December 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012.
10) Rappahannock River Area 8:  December 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012.
11) Rappahannock River Area 9:  November 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
12) Great Wicomico River Hand Scrape Area:  January 1, 2012 through February 28, 2012.
13) Upper Chesapeake Bay, Blackberry Hangs Hand Scrape Area: January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012.
14) Little Wicomico River:  October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
15) Coan River:  October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
16) Yeocomico River:  October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
17) Nomini River:  October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
18) Tangier-Pocomoke Sounds Rotation Area 1:  December 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012.
19) Seaside of Eastern Shore:  (For clean cull oysters only) November 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012.

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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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