Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
Chapter 900. Pertaining to Horseshoe Crab
7/11/2020

4VAC20-900-25. Commercial Fisheries Management Measures.

A. It shall be unlawful for any individual to harvest horseshoe crabs from any shore or tidal waters of Virginia within 1,000 feet in any direction of the mean low water line from May 1 through June 7, except that pound net licensees permitted for horseshoe crab harvest may harvest horseshoe crabs beyond 500 feet seaward of mean low water during this period. The harvests of horseshoe crabs for biomedical use shall not be subject to this limitation.

B. From January 1 through June 7 of each year, it shall be unlawful for any individual to land, in Virginia, any horseshoe crab harvested from federal waters.

C. Harvests for biomedical purposes shall require a special permit issued by the Commissioner of Marine Resources, and all crabs taken pursuant to such permit shall be returned to the same waters from which they were collected.

D. The annual commercial quota of horseshoe crab shall be 172,828 horseshoe crabs. Additional quantities of horseshoe crab may be transferred to Virginia by other jurisdictions, in accordance with the provisions of Addendum I to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crab, April 2000, provided that the combined total of the commercial quota and transfer from other jurisdictions shall not exceed 355,000 horseshoe crabs. It shall be unlawful for any individual to harvest from Virginia waters, or to land in Virginia, any horseshoe crab for commercial purposes after any calendar-year commercial quota of horseshoe crab has been attained and announced as such.

1. The horseshoe crab commercial trawl gear quota is equal to 12.488% of the commercial quota of horseshoe crabs described in this subsection or 21,583 horseshoe crabs.

2. The horseshoe crab commercial dredge gear quota is equal to 40.348% of the commercial quota of horseshoe crabs described in this subsection or 69,733 horseshoe crabs.

3. The horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest quota is equal to 22.095% of the commercial quota of horseshoe crabs described in this subsection or 38,186 horseshoe crabs.

4. The horseshoe crab commercial pound net quota is equal to 18.142% of the commercial quota of horseshoe crabs described in this subsection or 31,354 horseshoe crabs.

5. The horseshoe crab commercial general category quota is equal to 6.927% of the commercial quota of horseshoe crabs described in this subsection or 11,972 horseshoe crabs.

E. It shall be unlawful for any individual to harvest or land horseshoe crabs during any calendar year from waters east of the COLREGS Line by any gear after 81,331 male horseshoe crabs have been landed and announced as such, and the following provisions shall also apply:

1. It shall be unlawful for any individual to harvest or land any female horseshoe crabs from waters east of the COLREGS Line.

2. It shall be unlawful for any individual to harvest or land any amount of horseshoe crabs from waters east of the COLREGS Line by any gear, except for trawl or dredge gear.

3. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Trawl Permittee or Horseshoe Crab Class A Dredge Permittee to take, catch, possess, or land more than 1,250 male horseshoe crabs from waters east of the COLREGS Line when it is projected and announced that 65,065 male horseshoe crabs have been landed from waters east of the COLREGS Line.

4. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class B Dredge Permittee to take, catch, possess, or land more than 500 male horseshoe crabs from waters east of the COLREGS Line when it is projected and announced that 65,065 male horseshoe crabs have been landed from waters east of the COLREGS Line.

F. For the purposes of this regulation, no horseshoe crab shall be considered a male horseshoe crab unless it possesses at least one modified, hook-like appendage as its first pair of walking legs.

G. Limitations on the daily harvest and possession of horseshoe crabs for any vessel described below are as follows:

1. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Trawl Permittee, as described in 4VAC20-900-21 C, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 2,500 per day. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial trawl gear quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Trawl Permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 1,250 per day. When it is projected and announced that 100% of the horseshoe crab commercial trawl quota is taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Trawl Permittee to possess or land any horseshoe crab taken by trawl gear.

2. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class A Dredge Permittee, as described in 4VAC20-900-21 D, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 2,500 per day. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial dredge gear quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class A Dredge Permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 1,250 per day. When it is projected and announced that 100% of the horseshoe crab commercial dredge gear quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class A Dredge Permittee to possess or land any horseshoe crab taken by dredge gear.

3. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class B Dredge Permittee, as described in 4VAC20-900-21 D, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 1,000 per day. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial dredge gear quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class B Dredge Permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 500 per day. When it is projected and announced that 100% of the horseshoe crab commercial dredge gear quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Class B Dredge Permittee to possess or land any horseshoe crab taken by dredge gear.

4. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Hand Harvest Permittee, as described in 4VAC20-900-21 E, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 500 per 24-hour period, as described in subdivision 9 of this subsection. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Hand Harvest Permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 250 per 24-hour period, as described in subdivision 9 of this subsection. When it is projected and announced that 100% of the horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Hand Harvest Permittee to possess or land any horseshoe crab taken by hand.

5. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Pound Net Permittee, as described in 4VAC20-900-21 F, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 500 per day. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial pound net quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Pound Net Permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 250 per day. When it is projected and announced that 100% of the horseshoe crab commercial pound net quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Pound Net Permittee to possess or land any horseshoe crab taken by pound net.

6. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab General Category Permittee, as described in 4VAC20-900-21 G, to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 250 per day. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial general category quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab General Category Permittee to possess aboard any vessel or to land any number of horseshoe crabs in excess of 125 per day. When it is projected and announced that 100% of the horseshoe crab commercial general category quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab General Category Permittee to possess or land any horseshoe crab taken by gear other than trawl, dredge, pound net, or by hand.

7. It shall be unlawful for any two valid Horseshoe Crab Hand Harvest Permittees when fishing from the same boat or vessel to possess or land more than 1,000 horseshoe crabs per 24-hour period, as described in subdivision 9 of this subsection. When it is projected and announced that 80% of the horseshoe crab commercial hand harvest quota has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any two valid Horseshoe Crab Hand Harvest Permittees fishing from the same boat or vessel to possess or land more than 500 horseshoe crabs per 24-hour period, as described in subdivision 9 of this subsection.

8. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab General Category Permittee to harvest horseshoe crabs by gill net, except as described in this subdivision.

a. Horseshoe crabs shall only be harvested from a gill net, daily, after sunrise and before sunset.

b. It shall be unlawful for any individual to harvest or possess horseshoe crabs taken by any gill net that has a stretched mesh measure equal to or greater than six inches, unless the twine size of that gill net is equal to or greater than 0.81 millimeters in diameter (0.031 inches), and that individual possesses his own valid commercial striped bass permit or his own black drum harvesting and selling permit, as well as a Horseshoe Crab General Category Permit.

9. It shall be unlawful for any person permitted for hand harvest of horseshoe crabs to possess or land any horseshoe crabs, except during a 24-hour period that extends from 12 noon on one day to 12 noon the following day.

H. From April 1 through June 30, in the Toms Cove Area, it shall be unlawful for any individual to place, set, or fish any gill net, except as described in this subsection.

1. From April 1 through May 31, any gill net licensed as over 600 feet and up to 1,200 feet in length shall have at least one anchored end 800 feet from the mean low water line.

2. From June 1 through June 30, it shall be unlawful to place, set, or fish any gill net after sunset or before sunrise.

I. It shall be unlawful for any valid Horseshoe Crab Trawl Permittee, Horseshoe Crab Class A Dredge Permittee, or Horseshoe Crab Class B Dredge Permittee to offload any horseshoe crabs between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 15, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 1999; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 19, eff. May 4, 1999; Volume 17, Issue 01, eff. September 1, 2000; Volume 17, Issue 07, eff. November 17, 2000; Volume 17, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2001; Volume 22, Issue 10, eff. December 22, 2005; Volume 22, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2006; Volume 23, Issue 19, eff. July 1, 2007; Volume 26, Issue 09, eff. January 1, 2010; Volume 27, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2011; Volume 28, Issue 14, eff. March 1, 2012; Volume 28, Issue 16, eff. March 28, 2012; Volume 28, Issue 19, eff. April 28, 2012; Volume 29, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. August 1, 2013; Volume 30, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2014; Errata 30:12 VA.R. 1706 February 10, 2014; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 17, eff. April 1, 2014; Volume 31, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2015; Volume 32, Issue 19, eff. May 1, 2016.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.