Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
4/19/2019

Article 2. Taking of Fish, Net, and Device Restrictions.

§ 28.2-303. Taking and sale of sturgeon prohibited; penalty.

Except as otherwise provided by regulation, it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or possess any sturgeon. Any sturgeon caught by any person shall be immediately returned to the water.

It shall be unlawful for any dealer or wholesaler of fish for human consumption to buy from others or to otherwise possess for purposes of resale any sturgeon.

A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1970, c. 629, § 28.1-49.1; 1981, c. 579; 1984, c. 13; 1985, cc. 546, 615; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-304. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2014, cc. 108 and 142, cl. 1.

§ 28.2-305. Size of mesh and length and depth of certain nets; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to use the following nets:

1. A pound net or a mullet gill net that is less than 200 yards long having a smaller mesh than two inches, stretched measure, after having been tarred;

2. A haul seine longer than 1,000 yards and if over 200 yards long having mesh less than three inches, stretched measure; however, the mesh of up to 400 feet of the net shall be no less than two and one-half inches, stretched measure, when the haul seine is set from the beach whereby one end of the net is anchored to the shore and the other end is mechanically drawn, without the aid of a boat or vessel, to the shore; or

3. A mullet gill net deeper than 40 meshes.

B. It is unlawful to set a pound net or other fixed fishing device on an established and presently used haul seine area, except that this provision shall not affect a pound net stand presently licensed.

C. A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-46; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-51; 1992, c. 836; 2012, c. 228.

§ 28.2-306. Use of certain fishing devices in certain waters; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to use any snatch hook, grab hook or gang hook for the purpose of taking or catching fish in the Rappahannock River below the Downing Bridge at Tappahannock between January 1 and March 15. Nothing in this section shall apply to any licensed fixed fishing device.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1968, c. 748, § 28.1-51.1; 1976, c. 200; 1982, c. 632; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-307. Length of fixed fishing device; gill nets; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to use a single fixed fishing device having a total length greater than 1,200 feet. Clear and unobstructed intervals of at least 200 feet shall be maintained between successive fishing structures in the same row, and adjoining rows of fishing structures shall be at least 300 yards apart. In addition, a clear passageway at least 200 feet wide shall be maintained, reaching from all regular navigable channels to all established boat landings. All stakes shall project not less than four feet above the surface of the water at all stages of the tide. Any stake not complying with this condition shall be removed by the licensee.

B. The Commission shall, by regulation, establish the minimum distance between any net and the side or end of any fixed fishing device.

C. A violation of any provision of this section or any regulation adopted pursuant to subsection B is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-46.1; 1954, c. 215; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-52; 1964, c. 393; 1974, c. 97; 1990, c. 494; 1992, c. 836; 2009, c. 28.

§ 28.2-308. Setting of gill nets in oceanfront; penalty.

From the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day through September 15 of each year, gill net operators along the southern oceanfront boundary of the United States Dam Neck Military Base south to the North Carolina border shall maintain unimpeded breaks of 500 feet between adjacent rows of nets. Gaps between such gill nets in the same row shall occur no less than every 2,000 feet. These gill nets shall be set at a minimum of 400 feet seaward from the mean high-water mark.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-46.1; 1954, c. 215; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-52; 1964, c. 393; 1974, c. 97; 1990, c. 494; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-309. Distance nets may extend across body of water or channel; prohibition; regulations; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to set or fish any net or nets across any river, bay, estuary, creek, or inlet which are longer than one-fourth the width of the body of water from mean low water to mean low water at the point where the net or nets are set or fished.

B. It is unlawful to set or fish any net, other than a menhaden net, in any portion of a marked channel of a river, bay, estuary, creek, or inlet which has navigation aids installed or approved by any agency of government. However, the prohibitions and restrictions on setting nets contained in this subsection shall not apply to any net set on the eastern or ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton. The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate regulations governing the setting of any net on the eastern or ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton.

C. It shall be unlawful to set or fish any net which is a hazard to navigation.

D. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-47; 1950, p. 981; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-53; 1968, c. 748; 1990, c. 212; 1991, c. 683; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-310. Trotline prohibited on ocean side of Eastern Shore; penalty.

It shall be unlawful to set a fish trotline on the ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton. The Commission officers may seize any fish trotline set in such an area.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-43; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-48; 1966, c. 684; 1968, c. 748; 1972, c. 833; 1973, c. 21; 1976, c. 392; 1979, c. 274; 1981, c. 61; 1983, c. 307; 1990, c. 445; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-311. Chickahominy River in Charles City; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to take or catch fish, shellfish, or marine organisms, on or within 500 yards below the Chickahominy Dam at Walker's, on the Chickahominy River, other than with rod and line or hand line.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-88.4; 1950, p. 471; 1956, c. 325; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-80; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-312. Rappahannock River and certain of its tributaries; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to use any haul seine (i) within 100 yards of mean low-water mark or 3 feet of water in depth at mean low water, whichever is closer to the shore, or (ii) over any oyster ground held under lease from the Commonwealth and marked as required by law in the waters of the Rappahannock River east of Downing Bridge at Tappahannock, and in its tributaries east of Downing Bridge. The restriction set forth in clause (i) shall be inapplicable where the written consent of the adjacent landowner has been obtained.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 28-89; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-81; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-313. Killing fish by means of explosives, drugs, or poisons; possession; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to capture or kill any fish, shellfish, or marine organisms by means of explosives, drugs, or poisons in any waters of the Commonwealth or in any waters under its jurisdiction.

B. It is unlawful to possess, sell, or offer to sell, within the Commonwealth, any fish, shellfish, or marine organisms killed or captured by means of explosives, drugs, or poisons, whether killed or captured within or without the jurisdiction of Virginia.

A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 28-53, 28-54; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-55, 28.1-56; 1992, c. 836.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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