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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
Chapter 610. Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting
8/8/2020

4VAC20-610-30. Commercial Fisherman Registration License; Exceptions and Requirements of Authorized Agents.

A. In accordance with § 28.2-241 C of the Code of Virginia, only persons who hold a valid Commercial Fisherman Registration License may sell, trade, or barter their harvest, or give their harvest to another, in order that it may be sold, traded, or bartered. Only these licensees may sell their harvests from Virginia tidal waters, regardless of the method or manner in which caught. Exceptions to the requirement to register as a commercial fisherman for selling harvest are authorized for the following persons or firms only:

1. Persons taking menhaden under the authority of licenses issued pursuant to § 28.2-402 of the Code of Virginia.

2. Persons independently harvesting and selling, trading, or bartering no more than three gallons of minnows per day who are not part of, hired by, or engaged in a continuing business enterprise.

a. Only minnow pots, a cast net or a minnow seine less than 25 feet in length may be used by persons independently harvesting minnows.

b. All other marine species taken during the process of harvesting minnows shall be returned to the water immediately.

B. Requirements of authorized agents.

1. No person whose Commercial Fisherman Registration License, fishing gear license, or fishing permit is currently revoked or rescinded by the Marine Resources Commission pursuant to § 28.2-232 of the Code of Virginia is authorized to possess the Commercial Fisherman Registration License, fishing gear license, or fishing permit of any other registered commercial fisherman in order to serve as an agent for fishing the commercial fisherman's gear or selling the harvest.

2. No registered commercial fisherman shall use more than one person as an agent at any time.

3. Any person serving as an agent shall possess the Commercial Fisherman Registration License and gear license of the commercial fisherman while fishing.

4. When transporting or selling a registered commercial fisherman's harvest, the agent shall possess either the Commercial Fisherman Registration License of that commercial fisherman or a bill of lading indicating that fisherman's name, address, Commercial Fisherman Registration License number, date and amount of product to be sold.

C. Requirements of authorized blue crab fishery agents.

1. Any person licensed to harvest blue crabs commercially shall not be eligible to also serve as an agent.

2. Any person serving as an agent to harvest blue crabs for another licensed fisherman shall be limited to the use of only one registered commercial fisherman's crab license; however, an agent may fish multiple crab traps licensed and owned by the same person.

3. There shall be no more than one person, per vessel, serving as an agent for a commercial crab licensee.

4. Prior to using an agent in any crab fishery, the licensee shall submit a crab agent registration application to the commission. Crab agent registration applications shall be approved by the commissioner, or his designee, for a crab fishery licensee according to the following guidelines:

a. Only 125 agents may participate annually in the crab fishery, as described in subdivision 4 b of this subsection, unless the commissioner, or his designee, approves a request for agent use because of a non-economic hardship circumstance and

b. 125 agents may be utilized by those crab fishery licensees who received approval for agent use in 2012 or who currently are licensed by a transferred crab fishery license from a licensee approved for agent use in 2012, except that should any of these licensees described in this subdivision fail to register for agent use by March 1, applications for agent use by other licensees shall be approved on a first-come, first-served basis, starting with those licensees who have registered prior to March 1.

D. Failure to abide by any of the provisions of this section shall constitute a violation of this regulation.

E. In accordance with § 28.2-241 H of the Code of Virginia, only persons with a valid Commercial Fisherman Registration License may purchase gear licenses. Beginning with licenses for the 1993 calendar year and for all years thereafter, gear licenses will be sold only upon presentation of evidence of a valid Commercial Fisherman Registration License.

Exceptions to the prerequisite requirement are authorized for the following gears only and under the conditions described below:

1. Menhaden purse seine licenses issued pursuant to § 28.2-402 of the Code of Virginia may be purchased without holding a Commercial Fisherman Registration License.

2. Commercial gear licenses used for recreational purposes and issued pursuant to § 28.2-226.2 of the Code of Virginia may be purchased without holding a Commercial Fisherman Registration License.

F. On or after January 1, 1993, fishermen not registered as commercial fishermen but who desire to sell their catch shall apply to the commission for a Commercial Fisherman Registration License. The effective date of status as a commercial fisherman shall be two years from the date the application is approved by the commission. A person whose registration as a commercial fisherman is not effective shall not sell, trade, or barter his catch or give his catch to another in order that it may be sold, traded, or bartered.

G. Exceptions to the two-year delay described in subsection F of this section may be granted by the commissioner or his designee, if any of the following criteria are met:

1. The applicant is purchasing another fisherman's Commercial Fisherman Registration License, and the seller holds a valid, current Commercial Fisherman Registration License and surrenders that license to the commission at the time the license is sold.

2. An immediate member of the applicant's family who holds a current Commercial Fisherman Registration License has died or is retiring from the commercial fishery and the applicant intends to participate in the fishery.

3. The applicant purchased a valid Commercial Fisherman Registration License during the preceding year, did not transfer that Commercial Fisherman Registration License, and can demonstrate a significant hardship on the basis of health or active military duty as described in subdivision 4 of this subsection.

4. Any exceptions based on a health condition shall only be granted by the commissioner or his designee only after receipt of an attending physician's description of the medical condition. Any exception based on active military duty shall only be granted by the commissioner or his designee after receipt of those military orders.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0079 § 3, eff. September 15, 1992; amended, Volume 10, Issue 09, eff. January 1, 1994; Volume 10, Issue 24, eff. July 1, 1994; Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 25, 1995; Volume 13, Issue 01, eff. September 1, 1996; Volume 14, Issue 05, eff. November 1, 1997; Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001; Volume 23, Issue 04, eff. October 1, 2006; Volume 23, Issue 11, eff. February 1, 2007; Volume 24, Issue 08, eff. December 1, 2007; Volume 24, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2008; Volume 26, Issue 06, eff. November 1, 2009; Volume 29, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2013; Volume 30, Issue 07, eff. December 1, 2013; Volume 30, Issue 07, eff. December 1, 2013; Volume 31, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2015; Volume 31, Issue 25, eff. August 1, 2015.

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