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Publice Notice: Pertaining to Sharks 2005

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the proposed amendments to Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 ET SEQ."PERTAINING TO SHARKS," as listed below.

In accordance with §28.2-209 of the Code of Virginia, a public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 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, November 21, 2005.  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.

The following proposed amendments are offered for public comment and either supersede current provisions or establish new regulatory requirements:style="color: navy;"

Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq.  "PERTAINING TO SHARKS"

4 VAC 20-490-20.    DEFINITIONS:

The definition of carcass length is proposed for elimination from the regulation, while a definition of dressed weight is proposed to be added to the regulation, and the definitions of fork length and longline are proposed for modification. In addition, the single grouping of all shark species is proposed for modification, by defining 4 groups of shark species: Large Coastal Shark Group; Pelagic Shark Group; Prohibited Shark Group; and, Small Coastal Shark Group. Also, Smooth Dogfish are proposed for exclusion as a defined shark species.

4 VAC 20-490-40.    RECREATIONAL CATCH LIMITATIONS:

A. The taking, catching, or possessing aboard a vessel of more than one shark, from either the large coastal, small coastal, or pelagic group, per day or the possession of more than one Atlantic sharpnose shark and one bonnethead shark per person per day shall constitute a violation of this regulation. When fishing from any boat or vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limits for Atlantic sharpnose shark or bonnethead shark shall be for the boat or vessel and shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally eligible to fish. The captain or operator of the boat or vessel shall be responsible for any boat or vessel possession limits.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to retain or possess any prohibited shark.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any shark, except Atlantic sharpnose and bonnethead sharks, landed under the recreational catch limitations described in this section, that is less than 54 inches fork length.

D. It shall be unlawful, for any person taking or landing a shark, under the recreational catch limitations described in this section, to remove its head, tail or fins.

4 VAC 20-490-41.    COMMERCIAL CATCH LIMITATIONS:

In addition to the management provisions described below, the Commission will consider limiting the number of licenses and permits it issues for the large coastal shark, small coastal shark and pelagic shark fisheries.  Such limitations may cap or reduce the number of fishermen that are eligible to harvest or to land sharks in Virginia.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess on board a vessel or to land in Virginia more than 4,000 pounds, dressed weight, of large coastal sharks per day.  The person who owns or operates the vessel is responsible for compliance with the provisions of this subsection.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to fillet a shark at sea. A licensed commercial fisherman may eviscerate and remove the head and fins of sharks, but shall retain the fins with the dressed carcasses. While on board and when offloaded, wet shark fins shall not exceed 5 percent of the dressed weight of the carcasses.  Possession of wet shark fins on board a vessel or at offloading that exceeds 5 percent of the dressed weight of the carcasses shall constitute a violation of this regulation.

C. There are no commercial trip limits or possession limits for pelagic or small coastal sharks.

D. It shall be unlawful, for any person, to retain, possess or purchase any prohibited shark.

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

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