Virginia Marine Resources Commission News, June 2–June 12, 2015: Horseshoe Crabs, Trophy Striped Bass, Menhaden Fyke Net Fishery, Emergency Closure of Northwest Branch of Back River, and Oyster-theft Penalties

Below are news items from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) between June 1 and June 12 (listed below from newest to oldest). The items were accessed at the VMRC’s “Agency News” Web site, http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/whatsnew.shtm, on 6/18/15.  Each item includes the link provided by the VMRC for more information.

Please note also that on June 3, 2015, the VMRC published  the Spring 2015 “VMRC Fisheries Newsletter”; the newsletter includes updates on management of Blue Crab, American Eel, Striped Bass, Speckled Trout, Alewives, Menhaden, Shellfish, Atlantic Sturgeon, harmful algal blooms, and reporting requirements.   The newsletter is available (as a PDF) at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/Newsletters/NewsSpring2015_FINAL.pdf.

June 12, 2015:  It is projected that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest quota has been taken. For that reason, it shall be unlawful for any valid horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land more than 250 horseshoe crabs per day, effective 12:00 P.M. (Noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Friday, June 12, 2014.  [Closure Notice]

June 10, 2015: 
Accurate accounting of Trophy Striped Bass caught during the spring season is essential to maintaining this fishery. All trophy permittees are urged to report their trophy striper activity, including a report of no fishing if the permittee was unable to fish this year.  Please review the following trophy striped bass FAQ to see your reporting options.  [Trophy Striped Bass FAQ]

June 10, 2015: Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the commercial directed menhaden fyke net fishery will be closed. Based on landing reports from mandatory harvest reporting and Virginia seafood buyers, it is projected that Virginia will have caught 100% of the 1,950 pounds of the directed menhaden fyke net quota, by Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Therefore, after 6:00 P.M., EDST, Wednesday, June 10, 2015 it shall be unlawful to harvest or land more than 6,000 pounds of menhaden per day, for commercial purposes, by use of fyke net in Virginia, for the remainder of 2015. [ Menhaden closure ]

June 4, 2015:  A break in a sewage pipe caused a sewage spill into a tributary of the Northwest Branch of Back River in the city of Hampton. Due to potential microbiological pollution hazards, an emergency closure has been established in a portion of the River. A copy of the notice and map of the area is available at this link [VDH Notice]. The emergency closure is effective June 4 – 25, 2015. The affected area is scheduled to reopen June 25, 2015. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor shellfish and water quality during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner.

June 2, 2015: 
New Law Increases Penalties on Oyster Thieves ~ Licenses now can be revoked for up to five years and financial penalties up to $10,000 can be imposed if revocations are ignored.  [Press Release]

June 1, 2015:  Landing limit reduction for the pound net permittees in the 2015 Virginia horseshoe crab fishery effective 12:00 (Noon) Tuesday, June 2, 2015 and closure of the 2015 pound net horseshoe crab fishery effective 12:00 (Noon) Wednesday, June 3, 2015.  [Notice]

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