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VMRC decides not to change oyster culling procedure

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted against a staff recommendation requiring a return to culling oysters into a pile on the boat.

During a meeting Aug. 26 in Newport News, the commission decided that it wants oysters to still be culled directly into baskets, said VMRC public information officer Laurie Naismith.

Commissioners received comments during a public hearing concerning the increased efficiency and public safety attributed to the baskets, she said.

The baskets have been in use for some time, Naismith said, following many years when the single pile of oysters on a boat was allowed.

 Some watermen liked the open pile, she said, because they can hide the small oysters not intended for market in with the allowable catch. Unfortunately, many of the young oysters die when thrown back into the water, Naismith said, while others survive.

The Marine Police like the baskets as a convenient way to quickly gauge a boat’s catch, she said, and the baskets provide an...

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