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CCAVA Legislative Alert

There are a number of active bills other than the recreational license increase bill that CCAVA has been tracking. All of these bills have passed the House of Delegates and are currently in the Senate. We urge you to contact your state Senator and provide them feedback from their constituents. Additionally, we ask that you contact the members of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee and request that they consider your opinions in the matter.

Contact information for the members of the Senate Committee is included at the end of this alert. Additionally, you can contact the legislature by calling 800-889-0229 (698-1990 in Richmond). Just say you object to or support the particular bills. If one of the committee members is your representative make sure that you call their office and let them know how their constituents feel about these matters. If you do not know your legislator or their contact information you can go to the following web site to find same.

Only through calls and emails will your elected representatives know how you, the recreational fisherman, feel about these issues.

HB 1525 Waterway "pass-through" zones; local ordinances; penalties. Patron - Harry R. Purkey, Virginia Beach.

Summary as introduced: Waterway "pass-through" zones; local ordinances; penalties. Allows localities to enact ordinances establishing "pass-through" zones in portions of waterways within their territorial limits where watercraft traffic congestion routinely poses a significant safety risk to persons in the designated area. The ordinance must require watercraft operators to maintain reasonable and safe speeds and must prohibit them from anchoring, loitering or engaging in recreational activities while in such zone. The locality must clearly mark pass-through zones with buoys or other markers, and may provide for enforcement and penalties not exceeding a Class 4 misdemeanor.

CCAVA OBJECTS TO THIS BILL. This bill is an attempt to circumvent section 29.1-744.A of the code of Virginia which allows localities to petition the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for pass through zones. The concern is that, were it enacted, this bill would allow cities like Virginia Beach to close off areas popular to recreational fishermen in waterways like Lynhaven Inlet and Rudee Inlet. CCAVA feels that this bill is unnecessary as there is already an existing process for getting such zones enacted. In fact, the city of Virginia Beach, which is the patron’s home district, already has such a zone as authorized by DGIF. We feel that exclusion of certain activities such as fishing, crabbing, and general recreating should be controlled by a state agency rather than cities as the waters in question belong to all of the state residents. By defeating this bill the state code will continue allow a locality to enact such zones but only after ALL state residents have the opportunity to provide their public input on the matter.

SB 961 Protection of certain female crabs; penalty. Patron - John H. Chichester

Summary: Protection of certain female crabs; penalty. Makes it unlawful to catch, possess, or sell an egg-bearing female crab or a female crab from which the egg pouch, sponge, or bunion has been removed. This restriction only applies for 14 working days between July 1 and August 15 each year. Annually and at least 30 days prior to the first day of the crab harvesting season, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission shall determine by regulation the specific restriction days. Violations shall be punishable by a Class 4 misdemeanor.

CCA VA supports this bill as a step in the right direction towards restoring the blue crab populations to historic levels. We feel that this bill along with a balanced plan that provides the proper protection for the species during the remainder of the life cycle; and the continued reduction of the overcapitalized fishery will set us on the path of recovery of this species which has been at all time low populations levels for the past several years.

HB 2239 Haul seine nets. Patron - Albert C. Pollard, Jr. (Richmond, VA)

Summary as introduced: Haul seine nets. Changes the definition of a haul seine net. The current definition is ambiguous and has resulted in confusion in the proper setting and use of the gear. It has also forced haul seiners to work in shallow waters where submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) beds are located. Changing the definition will allow the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to prepare a haul seine fishery management plan that recognizes a more appropriate use of the gear, which will minimize the impact of the net on the SAV beds.

CCAVA SUPPORTS THIS BILL. This bill is a necessary first step in the process of revamping the regulations for this potentially destructive gear. Already a committee has been formed at VMRC, consisting of haul seine fishermen, recreational fishermen, environmental scientists and VMRC Staff. The purpose of this committee is to develop a comprehensive set of regulations covering the proper use of this gear while minimizing the impact on underwater grass beds. The intention is to have the regulations in place shortly after this bill goes into effect.

HB 1490 Fishing Class II guide license. Patron Albert C. Pollard, Jr. (all patrons)

Summary as introduced: Fishing Class II guide license. Creates a fishing Class II guide license for owners of recreational headboats or charterboats, and includes fees and other requirements for obtaining such a license. An applicant for a Class II guide license must complete an apprenticeship program under a captain holding a Virginia guide license. An identical bill passed into law in 2002, except it contained a reenactment clause for the 2003 Session of the General Assembly in order for it to take effect.

CCAVA OBJECTS TO THIS BILL. This bill is just interstate politics with MD. It is being considered as a way to force the MD charter industry to allow Virginia Charter fishermen into their limited entry fishery. It has the potential to turn the charter industry into an old boys club. The way that it is written you cannot get into the charter industry unless you have apprenticed under an existing charter captain. There is no conservation-based reason to limit the number of charter captains. Additionally, there are concerns of how someone who wants to start a small boat charter business can apprentice on another 20-foot boat.

Charles Hawkins (Chatham) (804) 698-7519 [email protected]

John Chichester (Fredericksburg) (804) 698-7528 [email protected]

William Bolling, (Mechanicsville) (804) 698-7504 [email protected]

Emmett Hanger, Jr. (Mount Solon) (804) 698-7524 [email protected]

John Watkins (Midlothian) (804) 698-7510 [email protected]

Kevin Miller (Harrisonburg) (804) 698-7526 [email protected]

Nick Rerras (Norfolk) (804) 698-7506 [email protected]

Patricia Ticer (Alexandria) (804) 698-7530 [email protected]

Mary Whipple (Arlington) (804) 698-7531 [email protected]

W. Roscoe Reynolds (Martinsville) (804) 698-7520 [email protected]

C. Creigh Deeds (Charlottesville) (804) 698-7525 [email protected]

Phillip Puckett (Tazewell) (804) 698-7538 [email protected]

Nick Rerras (Norfolk) (804) 698-7506 [email protected]

Harry Belvins (Chesapeake) (804) 698-7514 [email protected]

Creigh Deeds (Charlotsville) (804) 698-7525 [email protected]

Kenneth Cuccinelli (804) 698-7537 [email protected]

The preceding was provided as a public service by the Coastal Conservation Association Virginia (CCA VA). Feel free it to forward it to your associates. If you have any comments concerning this issue, or would like to have your name added/removed from the distribution list send an email to [email protected] The CCA VA is a 501 C-3 charitable organization whose goal is "CPR" …Conserve, Protect and Restore marine resources for the benefit of all Virginians.

CCA VA Fisheries Management Committee 2003
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