"Pertaining to the Taking of Hard Clams"


This regulation establishes the procedure for obtaining authorization to patent tong hard clams in non-restricted (clean) areas by clammers who possess special permits to harvest clams in restricted (polluted) areas. It restricts permitted clammers to work only polluted bottom, or notify Marine Resources Commission Law Enforcement and work only clean bottom. This regulation further establishes a maximum size limit for clams in restricted areas.

This regulation is promulgated pursuant to authority contained in §§28.2-201 and 28.2-810 of the Code of Virginia. This regulation amends previous Regulation 450-01-0077, which was adopted November 23, 1993 and effective January 1, 1994. The effective date of this regulation is April 14, 1995.

4 VAC 20-590-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to prohibit clammers who possess permits to harvest relay clams from working in clean waters, without first obtaining authorization from Marine Resources Commission law enforcement. The possibility of mixing relay clams with clean clams will therefore be eliminated. In addition, a maximum size limit is established for the conservation of brood stock.

4 VAC 20-590-20. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Chowder clam" means any hard clam that cannot pass through a 2- 7/8 inch inside diameter culling ring.

"Operations Office" means Marine Resources Commission Law Enforcement Operations Office.

4 VAC 20-590-30. Special permit restrictions.

A. During the relay season, it shall be unlawful for any person possessing a permit for relay clam harvest as required by § 28.2-810 of the Code of Virginia, to harvest clams from clean waters without first obtaining authorization from the Operations Office.

B. Any clammer who has been issued a permit for relay clams, shall notify the Operations Office before his boat leaves the dock, either by marine radio (channel 17) or by telephone (1-800-541-4646, 247-2265 or 247-2266), of his intent to patent tong clams in a nonrestricted area on that day. Each permitted clammer shall provide the Operations Office with his name, relay permit number, boat name, present location (for possible verification), departure time, destination and buyer to whom the clams will be sold.

C. Each permitted clammer shall also notify the Operations Office at the time his boat returns to the dock and furnish his catch count.

4 VAC 20-590-40. Allowance for chowder clams; return of containers of clams in violation.

A. It shall be unlawful to possess any amount of hard clams taken from restricted areas which consists of more than 10% chowder clams by number. The 10% allowance shall be measured by the Marine Patrol Officer from each container or pile of clams.

B. All clams in any container or pile found in violation of this chapter shall be returned to the water by the clammer as directed by the Marine Patrol Officer.

4 VAC 20-590-50. Penalty.

As set forth in § 28.2-903 of the Code of Virginia, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter committed by the same person within 12 months of a prior violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.




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