Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner Jack Travelstead has temporarily extended the time-of-day restrictions on the commercial harvest of crabs, in order to give crabbers plenty of opportunity to get their gear out of the water before a major storm hits within the next few days.
The effects of the approaching storm may persist through Tuesday.
“Crabbers should take this opportunity to retrieve all their crab pots so that are not lost in the storm or blown ashore onto private property or into moored vessels,’’ said Travelstead. “Lost crab pots can continue to capture and kill fish, crabs and even birds. No one wants that, and watermen surely don’t want to lose their gear.”
Commercial crabbing hours at this time of year normally are limited to 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, crabbing hours will be extended temporarily from 5 a.m. until sunset from Friday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.
The extended hours are intended to give crabbers time both to get their crab pots out of the water and to find, after the storm passes, any pots that may have been displaced.
Modifying the time of day restrictions on the commercial harvest of crabs is permitted under Regulation 270, Section 30: “D. The lawful daily time periods for the commercial harvest of crabs by crab pot or peeler pot may be rescinded by the Commissioner of Marine Resources when he determines that a pending weather event is sufficient cause for the removal of crab pots from the tidal waters of the Commonwealth.”
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission manages Virginia’s saltwater fisheries, both recreational and commercial, and is based in Newport News, Va.