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Public Notice:  Proposed Regulations, May 2016

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission invites public comment on the establishment of amendments to regulations, as proposed below. By May 9, 2016, the proposed draft regulations may 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 regulations will be held no earlier than 12:00 noon, on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 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, May 23, 2016.

I. Chapter 4 VAC 20-510-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia”

The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-510-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Amberjack and Cobia," to consider amendments, concerning the 2016 recreational cobia fishery, that include but are not limited to establishment of a higher minimum size limit than the current 37-inch total length; establishment of a daily vessel limit; establishment of variable fishing seasons; establishment of a prohibition on gaffing cobia; establishment of a recreational cobia fishery permit; and, a closure of Virginia waters to the recreational harvest and possession of cobia, once federal waters are closed to recreational fishing for cobia. At this time, the federal waters closure to recreational cobia fishing is scheduled for June 20.

The purpose of this amendment is to address a substantial overage of the 2015 Atlantic migratory group (Georgia through New York) annual catch limit of 630,000 pounds, in that the 2015 recreational harvest for this management unit was 1,541,535 pounds, and these same states are held to a 2016 annual catch target of 500,000 pounds.

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

On April 26, 2016, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission adopted under its emergency regulatory authority (Section 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia), amendments to this chapter to increase the number of days in the second landing period that began April 8, 2016 to 60 days, for the landing of summer flounder harvested commercially from offshore in Virginia.

The purpose of these proposed amendments is to increase the efficiency in use of this natural resource.

III. Chapter 4 VAC 20-1310-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Jonah Crab”

The Commission proposes to establish Chapter 4 VAC 20-1310-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Jonah Crab”, to establish a minimum size limit, limited entry commercial permits, gear restrictions and possession limits for the recreational and commercial harvest of Jonah crab.

The purpose of this chapter is to conserve and protect Jonah crabs from overfishing and to provide consistency among federal and interstate laws and regulations.

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VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES; THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS BECAUSE OF A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE JANE MCCROSKEY (757-247-2215) NO LATER THAN FIVE WORK DAYS TO THE MEETING DATE AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.



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