VMRC to consider changes to commercial fishing regulations

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Apr 20, 2011 - 04:14 PM

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will hold several public hearings on fisheries matters beginning at noon Tuesday at commission headquarters in Newport News.

John Bull, a VMRC spokesman, said one of the matters pertains to restrictions on shellfish. The commission will consider modifications to a chapter in the regulations that defines a "layer" of ice as "a single thickness of coating spread out and covering a surface." As proposed, the regulations would require those using ice to completely cover shellfish with a layer of ice.

Another proposed change, Bull said, concerns commercial tagging of shellfish. The proposed change calls for a person harvesting shellfish for commercial purposes to affix a tag to each container of shellfish, as soon as possible and before leaving any harvest area. Currently, any harvester shall affix a tag to each container of shellfish before the shellfish are removed from that harvester’s boat.

The commission also will hold a separate hearing on a proposal to reduce the 2011 harvest quota for horseshoe crab. The plan to reduce the quota to 130,933 horseshoe crabs is in response to the 2009 and 2010 harvest quota overages, Bull said.