COMMERCIAL FISHERIES NEWSLETTER
ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS NEWSLETTER IS SUMMARY INFORMATION. PLEASE REFER TO THE REGULATION CITED FOR LEGAL DOCUMENTATION.
PLANS & STATISTICS
ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS NEWSLETTER IS SUMMARY INFORMATION. PLEASE REFER TO THE REGULATION CITED FOR LEGAL DOCUMENTATION.
THIS NEWSLETTER PROVIDES ONLY A SUMMARY OF MANAGEMENT MEASURES ADOPTED BY THE COMMISSION AND HAS NO LEGAL FORCE OR EFFECT. TO READ THE REQUIREMENTS IN THEIR ENTIRETY, YOU ARE URGED TO OBTAIN A COMPLETE COPY OF THE REGULATION BY CALLING 757-247-2248 or accessing the VMRC HOMEPAGE: http://www.state.va.us/mrc/homepage.htm
What are they?
Regulation 4VAC20-252-10., "Pertaining to the taking of Striped Bass " became effective January 1, 1998. The regulation establishes a limited commercial fishery for striped bass in Virginia, with a new Individual Transferable Share program. This program allows any permitted fisherman to transfer his striped bass commercial quota shares (tags) to any commercially registered fisherman on a permanent or temporary (for the calendar year only) basis. The shares may not be transferred in any quantity less than 25% of the original share of the quota of tags. For example, a 1998 permitted gill net fisherman received 310 tags; he could transfer one-quarter of his tags (77 tags) or any amount of tags greater than 25% to someone else . Pound netters were issued 1080 tags, haul seiners = 740 tags, fyke netters = 830 tags and hook and liners = 80 tags for 1998. Additionally, commercial striped bass fishermen may use any licensed gear to harvest their striped bass. For example, a 1998 permitted haul seiner could use a gill net or even keep legal striped bass caught in his crab pot. Consequently, a permitted striped bass fisherman could acquire pound net, haul seine and gill net tags and harvest all of his striped bass by gill net. However, no one person can hold shares totaling more than 2% of the total annual commercial striped bass harvest quota of tags.
All quota share transfers must be documented on a VMRC form, notarized and approved by the Commissioner. All transfer forms shall be completed at the Newport News main office. Both commercially registered fishermen must attend and bring their permits, tags, and picture identifications. Call (757) 247-2245 for more details of the transfer process.
There was NO LOTTERY for the 1998 season. All open positions for the 1998 season were filled by qualified applicants in order of their ranking on the gear-specific 1997 waiting lists, and then the rest of the waiting lists was eliminated.
There will be NO HARDSHIP EXCEPTIONS considered for the 1998 season.
Crab Dredge Limit
*** 20 Barrels of crabs per/day ***
The crab dredge season has a 20 barrel "per/day" limit. Last season we received reports over the 20 barrel "per/day" limit (i.e. BLC = 20bbl and BCJ=3bu for one day). Through conversations with watermen we found that they had not actually gone over the limit, but were putting a total, then breaking the market category down (i.e. NO1;BCJ). This is incorrect! DO NOT SUM; THEN PUT MARKET CATEGORY BREAKDOWN ON THE SAME TICKET!!. The inside of the folder is for summary reports for the month. Please remember crab dredgers are not allowed to harvest more than 20 barrels of crabs per/day.
MANDATORY REPORTING FOLDERS
FOR ANY ONE MONTH
ARE DUE BY THE 5TH OF THE
Delinquent Mandatory Reports
Every year more and more watermen are sending their reports into our office on time, as required. Unfortunately, there are still a few watermen who are very delinquent with their reports. Getting accurate and timely data is essential to the management of our fisheries. Excessive delinquent reports impede our ability to manage the fishery with accurate data.
For example many species (i.e. striped bass, summer flounder, scup,...) are under federally mandated quotas. It is our responsibility to assure these quotas are adhered to; if reports are delinquent we can not track these species effectively. Delinquent reports are being referred to the compliance department and will result in compliance action!
We would like to thank all watermen for their continued cooperation with the Mandatory Reporting Program. In 1998 there will be some changes in the reporting forms. The forms have been revised to take into consideration some of the comments we have received about report forms for the last five years. We have scheduled workshops in three different areas for your convenience. A sample of the new form has been enclosed. The form as seen is letter size (81/2" x 11") the actual form will be legal size (81/2" x 14"). The form will be in triplicate (top sheet-VMRC, middle sheet-fisherman, and last sheet-buyer). The "buyer copy" will be perforated to tear off for different buyers as needed. Mandatory Reporting staff will be available to answer any questions. The workshop schedule is as follows:
Eastern Shore Community College
Tuesday, March 3, 1998, Rm C-112, from 7:00-8:00 P.M., Melfa, VA
Rappahannock Regional Community College
Tuesday, March 3, 1998, Lecture Hall 131, from 7:00-8:00 P.M., Glenns, VA
VMRC Commission Room
Tuesday, March 3, 1998 from 7:00-8:00 P.M., Newport News, VA
If you need any additional information about these workshops please contact Ryan Cool at (757)247-2014.
FEBRUARY 28, 1998!!!!
Striped Bass PCB Study
Our Stock Assessment Program is currently conducting a study of PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls) in striped bass. Phase I is complete. It ran from September 1997 through December 1997. One hundred and fifty striped bass fillets were needed for the study. The fish have to be sampled, filleted, wrapped in foil and then in plastic, and frozen within 24 hours of removal from the water. They are then Federal Expressed to a lab in Wisconsin.
Phase II started in February 1998 and will run through May 1998. The target number again is 150 striped bass fish. Two size ranges are needed. Range 1 = 18" - 24" and Range 2 = over 24". An equal amount of samples is needed from each size range and the fish must come from different harvest areas in Virginia.
Thanks to your cooperation Phase I was very successful. We will continue to need your help to complete Phase II. If Virginia samples are lower than the federal guidelines for PCB's, striped bass will be eligible for shipping to New York. This will open up new markets for striped bass harvesters. This comes at a time when striped bass tags are available to a larger number of watermen through the new "Individual Transferable Share" program. Results of the PCB study will be published when they are complete.
Recent Regulatory Actions
Regulation 4VAC20-910-10 et seq. - "Pertaining to Scup (Porgy) - The purposes of this regulation are 1) to reduce fishing mortality and increase the size of the scup spawning stock, 2) to improve yield from the commercial and recreational fisheries, 3) to promote compatible measures between the states and federal fishery jurisdictions, and 4) to maintain compliance with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Scup as required by the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act.
A. During the period January 1 through April 30 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 20,000 pounds of scup, except when it is projected and announced that 85 percent of the coastwide quota for this period has been landed, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 1000 pounds of scup.
B. During the period November 1 through December 31 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 8,000 pounds of scup, except when it is announced that coastwide quota for this period has been reached.
C. During the period May 1 through October 31 of each year, the commercial harvest and landing of scup in Virginia shall be limited to 3167 pounds.
Regulation 4VAC20-950-10 et seq. - "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass" - The purposes of this regulation are 1) reduce fishing mortality in the black sea bass fishery to assure that overfishing does not occur, 2) to increase the spawning stock biomass, and 3) to improve the yield from the fishery.
4VAC20-950-30. Minimum Size Limits
A. The minimum size for black sea bass harvested by commercial fishing gear shall be 10 inches, total length.
B. The minimum size of black sea bass harvested by recreational gear, including but not limited to hook-and-line, rod-and-reel, spear and gig, shall be 9 inches, total length.
C. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any black sea bass smaller than the minimum size limit, as designated, respectively, in subsections A and B of this section.
4VAC20-950-45. Possession Limits and Harvest Quotas.
A. During the period January 1 through March 31 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 11,000 pounds of black sea bass, except when it is announced that the coastwide quota for this period has been reached.
B. During the period April 1 through June 30 of each year , it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 7,000 pounds of black sea bass, except when it is announced that the coastwide quota for this period has been reached.
C. During the period July 1 through September 30 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 3,000 pounds of black sea bass, except when it is announced that the coastwide quota for this period has been reached.
D. During the period October 1 through December 31 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land in Virginia more than 4,000 pounds of black sea bass, except when it is announced that the coastwide quota for this period has been reached.
E. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or to land any black sea bass for commercial purposes after the coastwide quota for the designated period has been attained and announced as such.
F. It shall be unlawful for any buyer of seafood to receive any black sea bass after any commercial harvest quota has been attained and announced as such.
(New) Regulation 4VAC20-1010-10 et seq. - "Pertaining to Dredging in Submerged Aquatic Vegetation" - The purpose of this regulation is to provide for the conservation of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV beds) in Chincoteague Bay and adjacent waters of the Commonwealth.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to use or have overboard any dredge in any areas of submerged aquatic vegetation or within 218 yards (200 meters) of any areas of submerged aquatic vegetation, within those waters of Chincoteague Bay and Assateague Channel and Bay which are bounded on the south by the State route 175 Chincoteague Causeway and the Assateague Island bridge and on the north by the Virginia-Maryland state line.
** Upcoming Public Hearings **
Regulation 4VAC20-880-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Hard Crab and Peeler Pot License Sales." The Commission proposes to continue the limits and exceptions imposed on the issuance of crab pot and peeler pot licenses for 1998. The Commission further proposes to allow a limited number of fishermen holding 1997 licenses for up to 100 crab pots to upgrade to 300 crab pot license in 1998. The Commission may establish criteria consisting of prior license history and prior days worked which a fisherman must meet to be eligible for the upgrade to 300 crab pots.
(February 24, 1998 meeting)
Regulation 4VAC20-500-10 et seq. "Pertaining to the Catching of Eels." The Commission proposes to clarify restrictions on the taking of elvers (eels less than six inches in length) by making it unlawful for a person to possess any elver, regardless of where it was harvested. The current regulation makes it unlawful to take elvers from Virginia waters. (February 24, 1998 meeting)
Regulation 4VAC20-530-10 et seq. "Pertaining to American Shad." The Commission will consider amendments to this regulation to establish a limited fishery for American shad in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in 1998. The Commission will consider additional amendments to restrict the harvest of American shad from Virginia's portion of the Territorial Sea, including a total moratorium on the harvest of American shad from ocean waters. (February 24, 1998 meeting)
Regulation 4VAC20-260-10 et. seq. "Pertaining to the Culling of Oysters" Changes in the culling tolerance for clean cull areas and the description of the clean cull areas will be considered. (February 24, 1998 meeting)
VMRC, March 24, Commission Mtg 9:00a.m.
- Public Hearing Tautog, Summer Flounder, and Black Sea Bass
VMRC, March 3, Mandatory Reporting Mtg, 7:00p.m. - New Forms
FINFISH, March 17, VMRC - Conf. Rm, 7:00p.m.
RFAB, March 9,
VMRC, April 28, Commission Mtg, 9:00a.m.
FINFISH, April 21, VMRC - Conf. Rm, 7:00p.m.
VMRC, May 26, Commission Mtg, 9:00a.m.
FINFISH, May 19, VMRC - Conf. Rm, 7:00p.m.
RFAB, May 11
VMRC- Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Meetings set as 4th Tuesday of each month. Meetings begin at 9:00 a.m. (fisheries items are generally considered after 12 noon). Held at Commission Main office.
CLAM- Clam Management Advisory Committee. Meetings to be announced. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. Held at Commission Main office.
FINFISH- Finfish Management Advisory Committee. Meetings generally the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Held at Commission Main office.
BLUECRAB- Blue Crab Management Advisory Committee. Meetings to be announced. Held at Commission Main office.
SHELLFISH- Shellfish Management Advisory Committee. Meetings will be held quarterly (February-April-July-October). Held at VIMS, Gloucester Point, VA.
RFAB- VMRC Recreational Fishing Advisory Board. Meeting generally begin 7 p.m. Held at Commission Main office.
CFAB- VMRC Commercial Fishing Advisory Board. Meetings generally begin 4 p.m. Held at Commission Main office.
MAFMC- Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Call (302)674-2331 to find out the meeting locations. (The city and state change for each meeting).
ASMFC- Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Call (202)452-9110 to find out the meeting location. (The city and state change for each meeting).
ESORC- Seaside Eastern Shore Oyster Replenishment Committee. Meetings to be announced. Held at VIMS in Wachapreague, VA.
LRC- Living Resources Committee. Meetings held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Annapolis, MD.
RHD- Reef Habitat Development Subcommittee. Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Annapolis, MD.
ISSC- Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference. Call Mr. Ken Moore (803) 788-7559 for more information. Conference held in Sturbridge, MA.
PRFC- Potomac River Fisheries Commission. 222 Taylor Street; P.O. Box 9; Colonial Beach, VA 22443, (804)224-7148, (800)266-3904
NOTE: Committee Dates are tentative. Check with VMRC Fisheries Management Division to verify date, time, and place, (757)247-2200. Shellfish Committee and Seaside Eastern Shore Oyster Replenishment Committee meetings - verify date, time and place by calling 757-247-2120
Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations
(Submitted by Chief Gilbert, U.S.C.G.)
The federal requirements for safety equipment that must be carried on board commercial fishing vessels have changed.
The most significant changes affect the requirements for survival craft and EPIRBs (Emergency Positioning Radio Indicating Beacons).
Prior to October 6, 1997, most commercial fishing vessels operating within 12 nautical miles of the coast with 3 or fewer personnel on board, were exempt from carrying a survival craft.
This is no longer true. Most commercial fishing vessels, depending on their length and the time of year which the vessel operates, including those operating in the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries, are now required to have some type of survival craft on board.
Additionally, as of February 1, 1998, Class A and B EPIRBs that transmit on frequency 121.5 are no longer acceptable. All commercial fishing vessels that are required to be outfitted with an EPIRB must carry either a category 1 or category 2, 406 EPIRB.
The U.S. Coast Guard offers free commercial fishing vessel dockside safety examinations to fishing vessel operators who want to be sure they are in compliance with al applicable federal regulations. These exams are scheduled at the operators convenience and conducted at the vessel's moorings. These examinations are voluntary and no fault, that is civil penalty action is not initiated for deficiencies noted during the dockside exam. Fishing vessels that meet the applicable federal requirements are issued a "Safety Decal" to display on the vessel. This decal is valid for two years.
If you have any questions concerning the federal requirements applicable to your vessel or if you want to join in our voluntary dockside exam program, please contact the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office at (757) 441-3285.