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COMMISSION ACTIONS FEBRUARY 2000

1. MINUTES of previous meeting. The minutes were approved as drafted.

2. PERMITS (Projects over $50,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval). The Commission voted to approve these projects.

3. EXECUTIVE SESSION (if necessary). No session was held.

4. REBECCA M. GRAY, ET AL, #99-1606. Commission review of the January 18, 2000, decision of the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board to approve the excavation of approximately 782 cubic yards of sand from the backface of a coastal primary sand dune situated along the Chesapeake Bay to provide relief from blowing sand. The Commission voted to sustain the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board decision.

5. CLARENCE A. HOLLAND, ET AL, #00-0002. Commission review of the January 18, 2000, decision of the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board to approve the excavation of approximately 293 cubic yards of sand from the backface of a coastal primary sand dune situated along the Chesapeake Bay to provide relief from blowing sand. The Commission voted to sustain the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board decision.

6. WEST BANK GROUP, #99-1422, requests authorization to install nine (9) 150-foot breakwaters, one (1) 130-foot breakwater, (1) 90-foot breakwater, eight (8) 100-foot breakwaters, a 150-foot revetment and a 150-foot toe armor structure with associated bank grading, beach nourishment and marsh grass plantings along 5,300 linear feet of shoreline adjacent to their property on the James River in Isle of Wight County. The project is protested by adjacent oyster ground leaseholders. The protest was withdrawn and the Commission decided to handle the item similar to the "Page Two" permits. The Commission approved the permit.

7. ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, #99-1423, requests authorization to install three (3) 150-foot breakwaters and one (1) 100-foot breakwater with associated bank grading, beach nourishment and marsh grass plantings along 1,100 linear feet of shoreline adjacent to the Fort Boykin property on the James River in Isle of Wight County. The project is protested by adjacent oyster lease holders. The protest was withdrawn and the Commission decided to handle the item similar to the "Page Two" permits. The Commission approved the permit.

8. JOHN REGISTER, #99-1653, requests authorization to install up to ten (10) commercial aquaculture floats in two areas over his leased ground situated along Cabin Creek in York County. The project is protested by an adjacent property owner. The Commission approved the permit request.

9. BERNARD RUSSELL, #99-2188, requests authorization to install one (1) 55-foot long low-profile groin adjacent to his property situated along Onancock Creek in the East Point area of Accomack County. A Coastal Primary Sand Dune/Beach permit is required. The Commission approved the permit.

10. S. J. DOBSON, #99-1405, requests authorization to construct a 56-foot long by 22-foot wide boathouse with partial sides adjacent to his property situated along the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River in the City of Portsmouth. The project is protested by an adjacent property owner. The Commission voted to deny the permit.

11. PRESENTATION of a plan submitted by Mr. Jerome Libassi in response to the Commission's decision on his Application for Reassignment, Lease #12024, that was heard on December 21, 1999. After hearing of Mr. Libassi's plan, the Commission voted to approve the oyster lease for 10-years.

12. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Regulation 4 VAC 20-430-10 et. seq., "Pertaining to Marking and Minimum Mesh Size of Gill Nets." The amendment was approved by the Commission. 

13. PUBLIC HEARING: ASMFC required amendments to regulations pertaining to recreational summer flounder size, season and possession limits, recreational eel possession limits, and commercial scup trip limits to comply with the interstate fishery management plans for these fisheries. The amendment was approved by the Commission.

14. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to regulation 4 VAC 20-252-10 et. seq.,"Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass," to improve enforcement of the regulation. The amendment was approved by the Commission.

15. REPEAT OFFENDERS. The Commission heard reports on 12 individuals. Nine were placed on probation for 12 months, the other three had their licenses suspended for up to 180 days.

16. REPORT on results of recent ASMFC meetings. Jack Travelstead reported on the Alexandria meeting, including details regarding striped bass, summer flounder, weakfish and horseshoe crabs.

17. RECOMMENDATION: Commercial Fishing Advisory Board. The Commission voted to approve the Advisory Board's recommendations as presented. Mr. Travelstead noted that the source of this money is the commercial fishing registration license and the primary use of the funds is to support the agency's mandatory reporting system for commercial fishermen. He said due to increases required in support of that system by next year all of the annual money obtained from the sale of licenses will go to support the reporting system. Therefore, the Advisory Board was careful in making recommendations this year because once this money is gone, unless there are legislative changes, there will be no more funds for additional projects.

18. FAILURE to report. The case of one person was heard and he was placed on 12-months probation.

19. DISCUSSION: Use of fish pots to circumvent the crab fishing season; Request for Emergency Regulation. The Commission was told that some crab fishermen, in the past, have been placing fish pots in the water prior to the April 1 beginning of the crab season and then on April 1, declaring them to be crab pots and thus beginning to fish them immediately. At the urging of some other commercial watermen, the staff studied the situation and recommended that fish pots be prohibited between March 27 and March 31, unless the pots were above the spawning reaches for striped bass. The Commission voted to approve the emergency regulation, which will be advertised for a regular public hearing at the March Commission meeting.  

20. DISCUSSION: Requesting approval of 2000 Oyster Replenishment Program and Procurement Procedures. The Commission approved the program and procedures.

21. DISCUSSION: Proposals for Oyster Ground Leaseholder Assistance. James Wesson talked about the process of handling the $50,000 grant money provided by the 1999 General Assembly and the proposals offered by oyster ground leaseholders.

22. PUBLIC COMMENTS.

Jim Diebler of the Virginia Charter Boat Association talked about concerns regarding the Navy's target ship near Tangier which is now mostly submerged and could be a hazard to navigation.

Stephen Belch, a James River clammer, asked the Commission to extend the clam harvest season in that area from March 15 to March 31. The extension proposal, in the form of an emergency regulation, was defeated.

Jeff Crockett, President, Tangier Chapter, Virginia Watermen's Association asked the Commission to reconsider its November decision to open the second cull ring in the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay and to conduct a study involving cull rings prior to a public hearing. He said weather prevented some Tangier and Eastern Shore watermen from attending the November public hearing. The Commission voted to hold a public hearing on Crockett's request at its March meeting.

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