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Public Notice:  Proposed Regulations, December 2014

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the establishment of amendments to regulations, as proposed below. By November 24, 2014, the proposed draft regulations can be viewed at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia.

In accordance with Section 28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed regulation will be held at 12:00 noon, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia. Public comments on the proposals should be provided to Robert L. O’Reilly, VMRC Fisheries Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607, by 12:00 p.m., Monday December 8, 2014.

I. Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass”

The Commission will consider proposals that reduce the commercial and recreational harvests of Atlantic striped bass by 20.5% from these Chesapeake Bay fisheries and 25% from the Coastal fisheries. The basis for this reduction is for the conservation of coastwide striped bass spawning stock biomass that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission projects will be overfished in 2015 at current fishing mortality rates.

Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass,” shall be implemented prior to any 2015 fishery season and include:

1. Establishing the Virginia commercial Chesapeake Bay striped bass quota as 1,064,997 pounds. This is a 20.5% reduction from the 2012 Virginia commercial Chesapeake Bay harvest of 1,339,619 pounds.

2. Establishing the Virginia commercial coastal striped bass quota as 138,640 pounds, a 25% reduction from the current Virginia commercial coastal quota of 184,853 pounds.

3. Establishing a Virginia recreational coastal striped bass size minimum limit and possession limit that equal a 25% or greater reduction in harvest from the amount of harvest in 2013.

Staff proposes establishing a Spring Recreational Striped Bass Trophy Permit for any individual targeting spring trophy striped bass recreationally. Staff proposes establishing sanctions pertaining to the failure of any individual to submit mandatory harvest reports for harvested spring recreational trophy striped bass in Virginia. Staff also proposes clarifying that the Striped Bass Charter Boat Permit is for any for-hire vessel fishing for striped bass recreationally.

The purpose of these amendments is to comply with Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan.

II. Chapter 4 VAC 20-280-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Speckled Trout and Red Drum”

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-280-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Speckled Trout and Red Drum,” to stipulate that the daily commercial bycatch landing limit for speckled trout as no more than 100 pounds per commercial fisherman registration licensee, per day.

The purpose of this amendment is to promote conservation of this resource.

III. Chapter 4 VAC 20-500-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Catching of Eels”

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-500-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Catching of Eels,” to establish (1) an Eel Buyer Permit; (2) reporting requirements for those who purchase eels from a legally licensed harvester; and, (3) a requirement that any lawful harvester who self-markets or retails eels, to any individual or business, shall obtain an Eel Self-Market Permit.

The purpose of the amendments is to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan requirements for American eel.

IV. Chapter 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Summer Flounder”

The Commission, on October 28, 2014, adopted emergency amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Summer Flounder,” to establish a consecutive 20-day landing period, beginning December 1, 2014, for any legally licensed Summer Flounder Endorsement Licensee landing summer flounder harvested outside of Virginia waters.

These emergency amendments are proposed as parts of the final regulation. The purpose of the proposed amendments is to promote the welfare of the seafood industry.

V. Chapter 4 VAC 20-900-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs”

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-900-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs” to establish the 2015 Virginia commercial landings quota as 172,828 horseshoe crabs.

The purpose of this amendment is to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan requirements for horseshoe crabs.

VI. Chapter 4 VAC 20-1270-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Atlantic Menhaden”

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-1270-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Atlantic Menhaden” to modify the reference years for the total allowable landing requirements.

The purpose of these amendments is to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan requirements for Atlantic menhaden.

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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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