Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 20. Marine Resources Commission
3/29/2020

Chapter 110. Pertaining to Lobsters

4VAC20-110-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to conserve and protect lobster from overfishing and to provide consistency among federal and interstate laws and regulations.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014 § 1, eff. August 3, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000.

4VAC20-110-15. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context indicates otherwise:

"Berried female" means a female lobster bearing eggs attached to the abdominal appendages.

"Carapace" means the unsegmented body shell of the lobster.

"Carapace length" means the straight line measurement from the rear of the eye socket parallel to the center line of the carapace to the posterior edge of the carapace.

"Escape vent" means an opening in a lobster pot designed to allow for the escapement of undersized lobster.

"Ghost panel" means a panel or other mechanism in a lobster trap designed to allow for the escapement of lobster after a period of time if the trap has been abandoned or lost.

"Land" or "landing" means to (i) enter port with finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, or other marine seafood on board any boat or vessel; (ii) begin offloading finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, or other marine seafood; or (iii) offload finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, or other marine seafood.

"Lobster" means any crustacean of the species Homarus americanus.

"V-notched female lobster" means any female lobster bearing a V-shaped notch (i.e., a straight-sided triangular cut without setal hairs, at least 1/4 inch in depth and not greater than 1/2 inch in depth and tapering to a sharp point) in the flipper next to the right of the center flipper as viewed from the rear of the female lobster. V-notched female lobster also means any female that is mutilated in a manner that could hide, obscure, or obliterate such a mark.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2012; Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-20. Minimum and maximum size limit.

It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any lobster less than 3-17/32 inches in carapace length or any lobster greater than 5-1/4 inches in carapace length, except for scientific purposes and with the express written consent of the Commissioner of Marine Resources.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014, eff. January 1, 1973; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 25, eff. August 3, 1995; Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; Volume 21, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2005; Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2012; Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-30. Possession prohibitions.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any berried female lobster, except for scientific purposes and with the express written consent of the Commissioner of Marine Resources.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess a lobster that has had eggs removed unnaturally.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person, including fishermen, dealers, shippers, and restaurants, to possess a V-notched female lobster.

D. It shall be unlawful to possess a lobster that has an outer shell that has been speared.

E. It shall be unlawful to land lobster from February 1 through March 31.

F. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess aboard any vessel or to land lobster meat, detached tails or claws, or any other part of a lobster that has been separated.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014 § 3, eff. January 1, 1973; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 25, eff. August 3, 1995; Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2012; Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-40. Marking of lobsters.

All berried females from Virginia waters shall be V-notched before being returned to the water immediately.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014 § 4, eff. January 1, 1973; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 25, August 3, 1995; Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2012; Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-50. (Repealed.)

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014 § 5, eff. January 1, 1973; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 25, eff. August 3, 1995; Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-55. Gear requirements.

A. All lobster traps not constructed entirely of wood (excluding heading or parlor twine and the escape vent) shall contain a ghost panel that complies with subdivisions 1 through 4 of this subsection.

1. The rectangular ghost panel shall not be less than 3-3/4 inches (9.53 cm) by 3-3/4 inches (9.53 cm).

2. The ghost panel shall be constructed of or fastened to the trap with one of the following untreated materials: wood lath; cotton; hemp; sisal or jute twine not greater than 3/16 inch (0.48 cm) in diameter; or nonstainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3/32 inch (0.24 cm) in diameter.

3. The door of the trap may serve as the ghost panel if fastened with a material specified in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

4. The ghost panel shall be located in the outer parlor of the trap and not the bottom of the trap.

B. All lobster traps shall have one rectangular escape vent with minimum measurements of two inches (5.08 cm) by 5-3/4 inches (14.61 cm) or two circular escape vents at 2-5/8 inches (7.20 cm).

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-60. Commercial fishery permit requirements.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, possess, or land lobster by lobster trap in Virginia unless that person possesses a Lobster Under 200 Permit or a Lobster Over 200 Permit.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, possess, or land lobster from gear other than lobster traps in Virginia unless that person possesses a Lobster Incidental Harvest Permit.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014 § 6, eff. January 1, 1973; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 25, eff. August 3, 1995; Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; Volume 22, Issue 4, eff. December 1, 2005; Volume 32, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2015; Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-65. Landing limit.

Landings by fishermen using gear or methods other than lobster traps shall be limited to no more than 100 lobsters per day (based on a 24-hour period), up to a maximum of 500 lobsters per trip, for trips five days or longer.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. October 30, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2015; Volume 36, Issue 15, eff. March 1, 2020.

4VAC20-110-70. Penalty.

As set forth in § 28.2-903 of the Code of Virginia, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter committed by the same person within 12 months of a prior violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0014 § 7, eff. August 3, 1995.



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