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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
Chapter 252. Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass
9/23/2020

4VAC20-252-160. Individual Transferable Shares; Tagging.

A. For each person permitted under the provisions of 4VAC20-252-130 to harvest striped bass commercially, a weight quota shall be issued to permitted fishermen in amounts equal to the percentage share of the Chesapeake Bay area and coastal area striped bass harvest quota they hold. Tags issued for Chesapeake Bay area harvest quota shall only be used for striped bass harvests in the Chesapeake Bay area, and tags issued for the coastal area harvest quota shall only be used for striped bass harvests in the coastal area.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person onboard any vessel to possess any striped bass tags in Virginia waters, according to the following provisions:

1. It shall be unlawful for any person onboard any vessel to set, place, or fish any gear that can harvest striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay area when in possession of coastal area striped bass tags issued by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission or striped bass tagged with coastal area tags.

2. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess Virginia coastal area striped bass tags in the Chesapeake Bay area or striped bass tagged with coastal area tags except when transiting the Chesapeake Bay area.

3. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess striped bass tags issued for previous years for the Chesapeake Bay area, coastal area, or any other jurisdiction.

4. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess Potomac River Fisheries Commission striped bass tags in Virginia waters, except when transiting the Virginia tributaries of the Potomac River to land in Virginia and as provided by subsection C of this section.

5. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any non-Virginia jurisdictional striped bass tags in Virginia waters or striped bass tagged with any non-Virginia jurisdictional striped bass tags, except as provided by subdivision 4 of this subsection and subsection C of this section.

6. Any violation of this subsection shall result in the confiscation and impoundment of all striped bass tags or striped bass on the vessel.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person onboard any vessel to possess any striped bass tags in the Great Wicomico-Tangier Striped Bass Management Area except current year striped bass tags issued by the jurisdictions of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, State of Maryland, or Potomac River Fisheries Commission and according to the following provisions:

1. It shall be unlawful for any person onboard any vessel to possess more than one jurisdiction's tags or more than one jurisdiction's tagged striped bass in the Great Wicomico-Tangier Striped Bass Management Area.

2. It shall be unlawful for any person onboard any vessel to place, set, or fish any gear that can harvest striped bass in the Great Wicomico-Tangier Striped Bass Management Area when in possession of any striped bass tags not issued by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

3. Any violation of this subsection shall result in the confiscation and impoundment of all striped bass tags or striped bass on the vessel.

D. Shares of the commercial striped bass quota held by any permitted fisherman may be transferred to any other person who is a licensed registered commercial fisherman; such transfer shall allow the transferee to harvest striped bass in a quantity equal to the share transferred. Any transfer of striped bass commercial shares shall be limited by the following conditions:

1. Shares of commercial striped bass quota shall not be permanently transferred in any quantity less than 500 pounds, or 100% of unused permanent shares, in any year from February 1 through October 31. Permanent transfers of shares of commercial striped bass quota shall be prohibited from November 1 through January 31.

2. Shares of commercial striped bass quota shall not be temporarily transferred in any quantity less than 500 pounds from February 1 through October 31 or less than 200 pounds from November 1 through December 15. Temporary transfers of shares of commercial striped bass quota shall be prohibited from December 16 through January 31.

3. No licensed registered commercial fisherman shall hold more than 2.0% of the total annual Chesapeake Bay area commercial striped bass harvest quota or more than 11% of the total annual coastal area commercial striped bass harvest quota.

4. No transfer of striped bass commercial harvest quota shall be authorized by the commission unless transferor and transferee provide up-to-date records of all commercial landings of striped bass and striped bass tag use to the commission prior to such transfer.

5. No transfer of striped bass commercial harvest quota shall be authorized unless such transfer is documented on a form provided by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, notarized by a lawful Notary Public, and approved by the commissioner.

E. Transfers of Chesapeake Bay area or coastal area striped bass commercial quota from one person to another may be permanent or temporary. Transferred quota from the Chesapeake Bay area striped bass commercial quota shall only be used by the transferee for striped bass harvested from the Chesapeake Bay area, and transferred quota from the coastal area striped bass commercial quota shall only be used by the transferee for striped bass harvested from the coastal area. Permanent transfers of commercial quota shall grant to the transferee that transferred percentage of the quota for future years, and the transferor loses that same transferred percentage of the quota in future years. Temporary transfers of individual striped bass commercial harvest quota shall allow the transferee to harvest only that transferred percentage of the quota during the year in which the transfer is approved. Transferors are solely responsible for any overage of the transferred percentage of the quota by the transferee. Thereafter, any percentage of the transferred striped bass commercial quota, less any overage incurred by the transferee, reverts back to the transferor.

F. The commission will issue striped bass tags to permitted striped bass commercial fishermen as follows: those fishermen permitted only for Chesapeake Bay area or coastal area harvests of striped bass will receive their allotment of tags prior to the start of the fishing season. Any permitted fisherman eligible for both Chesapeake Bay area and coastal area tags shall receive only one type of area-specific tag allotment, of his choosing, prior to the start of the fishing season, and his other type of area-specific tags will be distributed when it has been determined from the commission's mandatory harvest reporting program that the fisherman has used all of his first allotment of tags and has not exceeded his individual harvest quota. The commissioner may authorize the distribution of the second allotment of area-specific tags to a fisherman eligible for both Chesapeake Bay area and Coastal area tags prior to that fisherman's complete use of his first allotment of tags provided that fisherman surrenders any remaining tags of his first allotment of tags.

G. Striped bass tags are valid only for use by the permittee to whom the tags were allotted. The permittee shall be on board the boat or vessel when striped bass are harvested and tags are applied. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a permitted commercial hook-and-line fisherman from using three crew members who are not registered commercial fishermen to assist in the harvest of his allotment of striped bass.

H. At the place of capture, and before leaving that place of capture, tags shall be passed through the mouth of the fish and one gill opening, and interlocking ends of the tag shall then be connected such that the tag may only be removed by breaking. Failure to comply with these provisions shall be a violation of this chapter.

I. It shall be unlawful to bring to shore any commercially caught striped bass that has not been tagged at the place of capture by the fisherman with a tamper evident, numbered tag provided by the commission. It shall be unlawful to possess striped bass in a quantity greater than the number of tags in possession. If a permittee violates this section, the entire amount of untagged striped bass, as well as the number of tags equal to the amount of striped bass in his possession, shall be confiscated. Any confiscated striped bass shall be considered as a removal from that permittee's harvest quota. Any confiscated striped bass tags shall be impounded by the commission. Upon confiscation, the marine police officer shall inventory the confiscated striped bass and may redistribute the catch by one or a combination of the following methods:

1. The marine police officer shall secure a minimum of two bids for purchase of the confiscated striped bass from approved and licensed seafood buyers. The confiscated fish will be sold to the highest bidder, and all funds derived from such sale shall be deposited to the Commonwealth pending court resolution of the charge of violating the possession limits established in this chapter. All of the collected funds and confiscated tags will be returned to the accused upon a finding of innocence or forfeited to the Commonwealth upon a finding of guilt.

2. The marine police officer shall provide the confiscated striped bass to commission staff for biological sampling of the catch. Upon receipt of confiscated striped bass, commission staff will secure a minimum of two estimates of value per pound for striped bass from approved and licensed seafood buyers. The confiscated tags and the estimated value of confiscated striped bass provided for biological sampling will be reimbursed to the accused upon a finding of innocence or retained by the commission upon a finding of guilt.

J. Altering or attempting to alter any tag for the purpose of reuse shall constitute a violation of this chapter.

K. Prior to receiving any commercial season's allotment of striped bass tags, a permitted commercial harvester shall be required to have returned all unused tags from the previous commercial season to the commission within 30 days of harvesting their individual harvest quota, or by the second Thursday in January, whichever comes first. Any unused tags that cannot be turned in to the commission shall be accounted for by the harvester submitting an affidavit to the commission that explains the disposition of the unused tags that are not able to be turned into the commission. Each person shall be required to pay a processing fee of $25, plus $0.13 per tag, for any unused tags that are not turned in to the commission.

L. Any person with remaining unused striped bass commercial quota in the current year requesting additional commercial season striped bass tags shall provide up-to-date records of landings and account for all previously issued tags prior to receiving an additional allotment of tags. The harvester shall submit an affidavit to the commission that explains the disposition of the tags that are not accounted for and shall be required to pay a processing fee of $25, plus $0.13 per tag, for such tags to the commission.

M. For the commercial fishing season, one type of tag shall be distributed to Chesapeake Bay area permittees and one type of tag shall be distributed to coastal area permittees. For the Chesapeake Bay area, the tag shall only be used on striped bass 18 inches or greater in total length. For the coastal area, the tag shall only be used on striped bass 28 inches or greater in total length. The possession of any improperly tagged striped bass by any permitted striped bass fisherman shall be a violation of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 13, Issue 08, eff. December 6, 1996; amended, Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 08, eff. January 1, 1998; Volume 15, Issue 18, eff. May 1, 1999; Volume 19, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 20, Issue 10, eff. January 5, 2004; Volume 21, Issue 13, eff. February 2, 2005; Volume 22, Issue 07, eff. November 14, 2005; Volume 23, Issue 08, eff. January 1, 2007; Volume 24, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2008; Errata, 26:9 VA.R. 1315-1316 January 4, 2009; Volume 29, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2013; Volume 31, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2015; Volume 35, Issue 02, eff. September 1, 2018; Volume 36, Issue 26, eff. August 1, 2020.

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