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2010 Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Opening Press Release

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament
2600 Washington Avenue, Third Floor
Newport News, VA 23607
(757) 491-5160

For Immediate Release:  December 23, 2009


No Changes Slated for Tournament in 2010

The 53rd annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which opens January 1, 2010 and runs throughout the year, will see no modifications in its popular Citation program. "The Tournament Committee felt the current Citation standards were at appropriate levels, so they recommended no adjustments to the Program for the coming year," stated Tournament Director Lewis Gillingham. 

The Tournament Committee made major changes to the program in 2004, instituting release Citations for all species and increasing the qualifying minimums for more than a dozen species. In recent years, the Committee has attempted to fine tune individual minimum qualifying weights and lengths to coincide with historical trophy-fish standards.

Other popular programs administered by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, such as the Junior Angler Program, and the Expert and Master Angler Programs, will return unchanged in 2010. The Junior Angler Program challenges children less than 16 years of age to catch and release six species of saltwater fish. To qualify as an Expert Angler a fisherman must register fish in at least six different species for Citation awards during the year. Master Angler requirements are 25 Citations (with a maximum of one per species per year) in at least five different species over an unlimited period of time starting in 1996. 

Additionally, the Committee was requested to consider possible options to limit harvest of speckled trout in warm water discharges during the winter months. A letter submitted by the Tidewater Anglers Club to Commissioner Steven Bowman and Chief of Fisheries, Jack Travelstead had requested the VMRC consider outlawing the use of gill nets in these areas. The Finfish Management Advisory Committee (FMAC) likewise discussed the Tidewater Anglers Club proposal at their October meeting. After considerable discussion the Tournament Committee unanimously supported a five-fish possession limit with just one fish greater than 24 inches allowed, in all state waters, for all gears (commercial and recreational) for the period of December 1 through March 31 for speckled trout. The Tournament Committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the FMAC and ultimately to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission for possible regulatory action.

On another note, anglers should check their current saltwater fishing license for its expiration date before heading out on the water in 2010, as saltwater fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Nonresidents purchasing saltwater licenses will see the fees and rules have changed as of December 2009. Anglers must have a valid Virginia saltwater fishing license and should pay attention to all 2010 fishery regulations as they are announced. All applicable fisheries regulations must be adhered to and a saltwater fishing license is required for Tournament participation. In addition, anglers fishing the territorial sea south of the Virginia border for striped bass are reminded these are North Carolina waters and anglers must have a valid North Carolina saltwater fishing license. Virginia does not have a reciprocity agreement with North Carolina and the Virginia saltwater license will not be accepted in North Carolina waters.

The Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament is a program of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission funded with revenues from Virginia's saltwater fishing license. The Tournament offers handsome wooden wall Citation plaques or album sized certificates for 35 species of saltwater fish which meet minimum criteria. The Tournament operates all year. For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 2600 Washington Avenue, Third Floor, Newport News, VA 23607, (757) 491-5160, (757)247-8014 (fax), or vswft@mrc.virginia.gov (e-mail).

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