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Note:  to see public notices for proposed regulatory actions, upcoming meeting dates and past meeting minutes use the Agency Meeting Calendar.

February 2015

February 25, 2015: Opening of Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery announced effective 12:01 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. [Notice]

February 24, 2015: 
The Commission agreed to extend the winter oyster season by almost two weeks because of snow and ice that have kept harvesters off the water for most of February. In other action the Commission suspended the sale of oyster hand scrape and dredge licenses until further notice in order to keep harvest levels from expanding from increased fishing effort. [Meeting Summary]

February 12, 2015: 
The Commission would like to remind commercial harvesters and buyers that 80 percent of the 51,104 pound commercial landings quota for speckled trout has been taken for the season that began on September 1, 2014 and will extend through August 31, 2015. It is unlawful, for any commercial fisherman registration licensee, to take, harvest, land or possess a daily bycatch limit of more than 100 pounds of speckled trout. That daily bycatch landing limit of speckled trout shall consist of at least an equal amount of other fish species.

January 2015

January 27, 2015:  The Commission revoked ten commercial watermen’s licenses for their court convictions of harvesting oysters from polluted waters. However, the Commission suspended the revocations of nine of those watermen and put them on probation for a year. Any natural resources violations during that probation period will result in the automatic loss of their licenses for up to two years. In other action the Commission approved $120,000 to build a public fishing pier on the York River in King and Queen County. [Meeting Summary]

January 21, 2015: 
In collaboration with VA Department of Environmental Quality and the Elizabeth River Project, researchers at Duke University are conducting a study to test red drum and speckled trout from the Elizabeth River for PCBs, a cancer-causing chemical found in soil and sediment in the James River Basin. To find out how you can donate red drum to the project and win a Yeti cooler, check out the ERP website here! (Finding PCBs in fish tissue will NOT cause closures of any fisheries, but may cause consumption advisories to be issued.) They are also interested in finding out more about fishing behavior and knowledge of fish consumption advisories for the Elizabeth River watershed. Completing this survey takes about 15 minutes and may help influence how future health advisories are communicated. Follow this link to the survey. For more information on this study, please contact the researchers at superfund@duke.edu

January 9. 2015: 
Recreational Summer Flounder fishing management alternatives for 2015 will be discussed at a public hearing on January 14, 2015 at 6:00 PM at the VMRC Headquarters, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Va. 23607, 4th Floor Commission Hearing Room. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries is leading this hearing to discuss regional management options for 2015 and a coast-wide or conservation equivalency option (FMP status quo). Coast-wide means uniform management across all 9 participating states, whereas conservation equivalency means that states could have the option to form voluntary regions or states could set state-specific regulations to constrain the state’s harvest to the state’s share of the Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL), which is based on the 1998 allocation. This procedure was in place from 1999 through 2013. In 2014 the ASMFC mandated regional management. Information for where to send written comments is included in the attached document. Contact Sally.Roman@mrc.virginia.gov for additional information. [2015 Summer Flounder Recreational Fishing Options]

January 7, 2015: 
The VIMS Virginia Marine Advisory Services is accepting proposals for the 2015 Fisheries Resource Research Grant program from January 5 through January 31, 2015. Grants are used to help those directly involved with fishing and aquaculture to undertake experiments and studies of innovative methods for enhancing or protecting fisheries in Virginia. For more information, see http://www.vims.edu/research/units/centerspartners/map/frg/ or contact Tom Murray at 804-684-7190 or tjm@vims.edu. [ 2015 Fisheries Research Grant Program]

January 5, 2015:
The Commission has added a web site feature that displays information regarding pending and complete permit applications submitted to our Habitat Management Division. For more recent projects you can view permit applications, the project status, a project description including dimensions, site photos and see an aerial photograph. This web feature will provide the public with easy way to access habitat permit application information and locations. [Habitat Management Permits and Applications Page] [Mobile Device Version]

December 2014

December 18, 2014: 
Effective 3:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST), Sunday, December 21, 2014, the Directed Virginia Offshore Summer Flounder Fishery will close. After 3:00 P.M., EST, December 21, 2014, it shall be unlawful for any person harvesting Summer Flounder outside of Virginia’s waters to do any of the following: 1) Possess on board any vessel in Virginia waters any amount of Summer Flounder, in excess of 10% by weight, of Atlantic croaker or the combined landings, on board a vessel, of black sea bass, scup, squid, scallops and Atlantic mackerel. 2) Possess on board any vessel in Virginia waters any amount of Summer Flounder, in excess of 1,500 pounds, landed in combination with Atlantic croaker. 3) Fail to land and sell the vessel’s entire harvest at the point of landing. [Closure Notice]

December 16, 2014:  The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) section 101(a)(4)(A) allows for private citizens to employ measures to deter marine mammals from damaging fishing gear and catch, damaging personal or public property, or endangering personal safety, as long as these measures do not result in death or serious injury of marine mammals. The MMPA also directs the Secretary of Commerce, through NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), to develop national guidelines on safely deterring marine mammals under NOAA’s jurisdiction (e.g., whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions). To inform development of these national guidelines, NMFS published the attached notice in the Federal Register to request input on which deterrents the public would like NMFS to evaluate and consider for approval. The comment period is open for 30 days, until January 15, 2015. Please submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0146. [Notice of Intent]

December 12, 2014: 
The Commission has added a new web site feature that displays notices and associated location maps for pending applications for proposed shellfish leases. Shellfish grounds leasing requests have greatly increased over the last three years and, in addition to providing for the already required Code of Virginia notice requirements, this new feature will provide the public with another easy way to access pending lease application information and locations. [Pending Oyster Lease Applications

December 9, 2014:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission took a number of steps today in order to comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s amended Interstate Striped Bass Management Plan: Lowered the creel limit from two to one stripers per person per day in the recreational coastal fishery as of Jan. 1, 2015; Instituted a new, no-cost recreational permit and mandatory reporting requirements for those recreational anglers who fish for trophy-sized stripers from May 1 through June 15; Reduced the annual commercial striped bass coastal quota by 25 percent, and enacted a 20.5 percent reduction in the commercial harvest quota for stripers in the Bay, both measures for the 2015 season. [Meeting Summary]

December 2, 2014: 
Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed an Executive Order continuing the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, a network of Virginia state agencies and local governments designed to protect the natural and economic assets located within Virginia’s coastal regions. [Press Release]


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