2008 What's New
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
Reciprocity Agreement Amendment
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 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.
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 23, 2008:
Oyster season in most of the Chesapeake Bay
and its tributaries will open Oct. 1, under a plan approved by the Commission
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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 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
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.