2008 What's New

December 2008

December 16, 2008: The Commission unanimously adopted a fishing guide license system that will open up Maryland waters to Virginia charter boats for the first time in more than a decade, solving a longstanding complaint of many charter boat captains. A two-tiered guide license system was approved, one license open to all charter boats plying Virginia's saltwaters and the other limited in number but to be honored by Maryland as part of a reciprocal agreement that Maryland officials have tentatively accepted. The new licenses are to go on sale next week. <More Guides License Information> <MD/VA Reciprocity Agreement Amendment> <More Commission Results

November 2008

November 25, 2008: The Commission continued its ongoing effort to rebuild the blue crab fishery by unanimously agreeing to put 867 dormant crab licenses on a waiting list, banning them from reactivation until the crab population rebounds and remains at acceptable levels for three consecutive years. These licenses have not been used since at least 2003. An appeal provision was approved for those with specific, provable, hardships. <More>

November 19, 2008:
The Commission has been honored with two Governor’s Awards for procurements to Small, Women and Minority owned businesses in fiscal year 2008 Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has made so-called SWaM expenditure goals -- not mandates -- a priority of his administration. One of the awards was the Highest SWaM Expenditures Achieved Award, given for achieving a 72 percent SWaM procurement expenditure rate. The other was the SWaM Innovator Award, given for the agency's creative efforts in signing up new SWaM businesses to participate.

November 19, 2008: Commissioner Steven G. Bowman has reappointed three members of the Recreational Fishing Advisory Board.  They are George M. Hudgins, Jr., of Williamsburg, an avid angler who is president of Carter's Cove, Inc. and Hudgins Building and Development; Charles Randolph, of Newport News, who has been fishing, boating and diving since 1970 and is the former president of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fishing Association; and Carlisle R. Bannister, of Richmond, a charter boat captain who enjoys fishing for trophy Striped Bass.  Their three-year terms will expire on Jan. 1, 2012.  "I’m very happy to reappoint these dedicated members of our recreational fishing advisory board," said Commissioner Bowman. "They work hard on behalf of all the state’s recreational anglers and their service is of great value to the Commission. I am personally grateful for their efforts."

October 2008

October 28, 2008: 
The Commission declined to reopen the female crab season, despite intense public pressure from commercial watermen. Regulations enacted this spring closed the season on Monday, five weeks early, in order to rebuild a crab population at scientifically proven dangerously low levels.  <More>

October 23, 2008: 
Virginia Marine Resources Commission member Richard B. Robins, Jr. of Suffolk has been elected chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, an important position overseeing fishery management in federal waters off Virginia’s coast. <More>

October 3, 2008:  
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission's elaborate display at the State Fair of Virginia has won a coveted Director's Choice Award again. <More>

October 3, 2008:  Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today formally announced the appointment of life-long angler William E. "Bill" Laine Jr. of Smithfield to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, as well as the reappointment of Kyle Schick.  Mr. Laine served as Circuit Court Clerk in Isle of Wight County for 34 years, from 1973 to 2007, and has sat on VMRC’s Finfish Management Advisory Board for the past five years.  "I’m very happy to welcome Bill Laine to this important position. He will make a terrific addition to the team as we move ahead with the challenges that face our marine resources in the future,’’ said VMRC Commissioner Steven G. Bowman.  Mr. Laine has fished regularly for more than 50 years, both in fresh and saltwater, mostly in the lower end of the Chesapeake Bay for the past two decades. Mr. Laine replaces Wayne McLeskey of Virginia Beach, who served eight years on the VMRC board.

Gov. Kaine today also announced the reappointment of Kyle Schick of Colonial Beach, who is president of the Colonial Beach Yacht Center, to another four-year term on the VMRC board. "Kyle is a tremendous asset to the board and his reappointment is most welcome,’’ said Bowman. "I wish to thank Mr. McLeskey for his many years of dedicated service. We wish him the best. He will be missed."

September 2008

September 23, 2008:  Oyster season in most of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries will open Oct. 1, under a plan approved by the Commission today.  <More>

September 3, 2008: 
Jere Humphrey of Norfolk, Virginia has established a new state record for snowy grouper with a 68-pound fish caught August 17, 2008   <More>

August 2008

August 29, 2008:  Habitat Management Division staff will conduct a public information hearing on September 18, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. at the Commission’s Newport News office regarding a proposed regulation to establish criteria to define beds of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and the delineation of areas where there is potential for SAV restoration, as well as proposed amendments specifying conditions for SAV protection in Regulation 4 VAC 20-335, pertaining to on bottom shellfish aquaculture activities.  <More>

August 26, 2008:  The Commission agreed today to push back enactment of a crab pot tagging program for lack of funds, but work will continue on designing this long-term program to control crab harvests.  <More>

July 2008

July 22, 2008:  The Commission agreed to set June 24, 2008 as the cut off date to be grandfathered under any potential future charter boat regulations. Charter boat captains have raised concerns over inequitable access to Maryland fisheries. <More>

July 18, 2008:
The Virginia Marine Police have conducted an unprecedented two-day sweep through hundreds of miles of state waters in search of crab pots violations. More than 3,000 crab pots were inspected, 200 crab pots were confiscated and roughly 100 watermen were issued citations for violating crab conservation laws. <More>

June 2008

June 30, 2008: Almost four dozen old New York City subway cars make spectacular splashes on their way to the ocean floor in an operation to expand a Virginia Marine Resources Commission artificial reef off the coast of Chincoteague.<More>

June 24, 2008: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has suspended a watermen's license until March because he was convicted of a crab conservation violation while on probation for an unrelated fishing violation.<More>

June 24, 2008: Angler Aaron Sledd breaks state record with a 56 lb 9 ounce Golden Tilefish.  <More>

May 2008

May 27, 2008:  The Commission set a two-year timetable for additional efforts to bring long-term stability to the Chesapeake Bay crab population, including a crab pot tagging system next year and either a tag transfer or harvest quota system in 2010. <More>

May 22, 2008: 
Smithsonian scientists are asking everyone to keep their eyes peeled for mitten crabs, and to save and report any that are found. <More>

May 8, 2008: 
Commissioner Bowman announces free fishing days on June 6, 7, 8.  <More>

May 2, 2008:
  Governor Kaine Seeks Federal Economic Relief for Virginia Crabbers <More>

April 2008

April 25, 2008: Public oyster ground hand tong harvest season in James River extended. Public Notice

April 22, 2008:
The Commission approved sweeping cutbacks to the state’s crab harvest, including the elimination of the winter dredge season and a shortened fall pot season. Regulation changes were aimed at a 34 percent reduction in the female crab harvest, as part of a Bay-wide solution to a dangerously low crab population. <More>

Click Here for a press release that explains the crab harvest cuts in detail.

April 15, 2008:  Governors Urge a Collaborative Solution to Revive Crab Fishery <More>

March 2008

March 25, 2008:  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted to close the 1,000-plus square mile crab sanctuary in the lower Chesapeake Bay a month earlier than usual. Crabs now will be off-limits in the sanctuary as of May 1, as spawning season begins. Also, the Commission agreed to consider bushel limits by area and seasons on female crabs next month, in addition to a series of other regulations to help protect the declining crab population. <More>

February 2008

February 26, 2008:  The Commission approved regulation changes aimed at shoring up the Chesapeake Bay’s plunging blue crab population, and set the table for a vote on potentially severe catch limits in April. Also enacted was a 19-inch size limit and five-fish possession limit for the recreational flounder season that opens March 1 and has a midseason closure that will be in effect from July 21-July 30.  <More>

February 20, 2008: As part of Virginia’s Outstanding Angler Awards Program, a total of 46 anglers achieve Expert Status and 10 anglers join the ranks of Master Angler. <More>

February 15, 2008: Frederick Barnes of Chesapeake sets new Virginia state record for striped bass. <More>

January 2008

January 22, 2008:  A multi-state panel of scientists has recommended Virginia regulators enact sweeping changes to significantly cut back on the number of blue crabs harvested in Virginia waters this year. The crab population is dangerously low, despite years of effort to bring back this keystone species. <Click here to read the Regulatory Review Committee Report> <Click here to see other actions taken at the January Commission meeting>

January 17, 2008:
The Saltwater Tournament is working on issuing 2007 trophy fish citations between now an early April. Click here to read about their process for citation delivery to anglers. 

January 3, 2008:
Chris Boyce of Hampton, Virginia has established a new state record for snowy grouper. <More>


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