Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
7/14/2024

Chapter 540. Pertaining to Spanish and King Mackerel

4VAC20-540-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to prevent the overfishing of the Spanish mackerel and king mackerel stocks found in Virginia waters and along the Atlantic Coast. This chapter supports the goals and objectives of federal and interstate management measures for Spanish and king mackerel.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-203 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0070 § 1, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 14, 1995.

4VAC20-540-20. Definition.

The following words and terms, when used in the chapter, shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

"Snout" means the most forward projection from a fish's head that includes the upper and lower jaw.

"Total length" means the length of a fish measured from the most forward projection of the snout, with the mouth closed, to the tip of the longer lobe of the tail (caudal) fin, measured with the tail compressed along the midline, using a straight-line measure, not measured over the curve of the body.

"Trip" means that period during which the vessel shall have left a dockside landing place, relocated to waters where fishing for Spanish mackerel by the vessel is legally permitted, and returned to a dockside landing place.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0070 § 2, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 14, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2018.

4VAC20-540-30. Recreational possession limits.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing with hook-and-line, hand line, rod and reel, spear, gig, or other recreational gear to possess more than 15 Spanish mackerel or more than three king mackerel.

B. When fishing from a boat or vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limits shall be for the boat or vessel and shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally eligible to fish multiplied by 15 for Spanish mackerel or multiplied by three for king mackerel. The captain or operator of the boat or vessel shall be responsible for any boat or vessel possession limit.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0070 § 3, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 14, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2001; Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2020.

4VAC20-540-40. Minimum size limits.

A. Minimum size limit for Spanish mackerel is established at 14 inches in total length.

B. Minimum size limit for king mackerel is established at 27 inches in total length.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, or possess any Spanish mackerel less than 14 inches in total length.

D. Except as provided in subsection E of this section it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch, or possess any king mackerel less than 27 inches in total length.

E. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the taking, catching, or possession of any king mackerel less than 27 inches in total length by a licensed pound net.

Statutory Authority

§ 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0070 § 4, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 14, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2001; Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2018; Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2020.

4VAC20-540-50. Commercial trip limit.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or land in Virginia any amount of Spanish mackerel in excess of 3,500 pounds from any vessel in any one day, except as specified in subsection B of this section.

B. When a commercial closure in federal waters for the Northern Zone Atlantic Migratory Group Spanish Mackerel is announced by the National Marine Fisheries Service, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess or land Spanish mackerel in Virginia in excess of 500 pounds from any vessel in any one day. This federal closure and state water per trip possession limit will be posted on the Marine Resources Commission website.

Statutory Authority

§§ 28.2-201 and 28.2-203 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0070 § 5, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 14, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 21, eff. June 1, 2012; Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. September 1, 2020.

4VAC20-540-60. 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

§ 28.2-203 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR450-01-0070 § 6, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 17, eff. April 14, 1995.

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