Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
Chapter 5. Oysters and Clams
6/28/2022

Article 1. Licenses.

§ 28.2-500. Residency and certain oyster licenses.

No residence restriction shall prohibit any person from obtaining any required license for buying fish or shellfish or for shucking oysters. In dredging or scraping private planting grounds on permission of the Commissioner, the residence restriction shall not apply to the crew, captain, or owner of any boat engaged by the leaseholder to dredge or scrape private planting grounds for oysters only.

Code 1950, § 28-138; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-121; 1983, c. 306; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-501. Application for license to take or catch oysters or clams.

A. Any resident of this Commonwealth who desires to take or catch oysters or clams by any device other than a scrape or dredge shall apply to the Commissioner for a license.

B. Any resident desiring to dredge or scrape for oysters shall apply in writing to the officer assigned to the district in which he resides. The application shall be sworn to and shall state the name of his vessel, the owner or owners, the captain or person in charge, and the length of vessel or gross tonnage at which it is rated. The application shall further state the district in which the owner resides; that the applicant is a resident qualified under the requirements of this section; that no nonresident owns the vessel, in whole or in part; and that it is not held with any intention, or under any agreement, to return it at any subsequent time to a nonresident.

Code 1950, §§ 28-137, 28-150; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-120, 28.1-129; 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1979, c. 274; 1991, c. 285; 1992, c. 836.

§ 28.2-502. License fees for taking oysters or clams in tidal waters.

Every resident who applies for a license to take or catch oysters and clams shall pay as follows or as subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201:

1. For each person taking or catching oysters by hand or with ordinary tongs, $10;

2. For each single-rigged patent tong boat taking oysters, $35;

3. For each double-rigged patent tong boat taking oysters, $70;

4. For each person taking or catching clams by hand or with ordinary tongs, $15;

5. For each single-rigged patent tong boat taking clams, $35;

6. For each double-rigged patent tong boat taking clams, $70; and

7. For each dredge used for taking or catching clams, $50.

Code 1950, §§ 28-137, 28-157; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, §§ 28.1-120, 28.1-133; 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1979, c. 274; 1991, c. 285; 1992, c. 836; 1993, c. 11; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-503. License for taking clams with tongs.

The license for taking clams, by ordinary or patent tongs, shall entitle the holder to take only clams from the public bottoms in the waters of the Commonwealth but not from the public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals or from leased oyster grounds. Such a license does not permit the taking of oysters. The Commission may authorize the taking of clams from the public oyster rocks, beds, and shoals of (i) the lower York River below the patent tong line and (ii) that area in the Poquoson River contained within Public Ground Tract No. 1 and Public Ground Tract No. 9, west of a line connecting York Point and Hunt's Point and northeast of a line connecting Hunt's Point and survey Station "Spit" when it determines that commercial quantities of oysters are not present and are not likely to return due to the presence of oyster diseases. However, the Commission shall annually review the conditions in the area designated under clause (ii) to determine whether to authorize the taking of clams.

Code 1950, § 28-137; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-120; 1964, c. 393; 1966, c. 684; 1970, c. 726; 1979, c. 274; 1991, c. 285; 1992, cc. 246, 836; 1993, c. 238.

§ 28.2-504. License fee graduated; penalty.

A. Every person engaged in the business of shucking or packing oysters in Virginia shall pay a license fee based on the amount of oysters shucked or packed by him during the previous year.

B. The license fees to engage in the business of shucking or packing oysters are the following or as such fees may be subsequently revised by the Commission pursuant to § 28.2-201:

1. For under 1,000 gallons, $7.50;

2. For 1,000 gallons up to 10,000, $20;

3. For 10,000 gallons up to 25,000, $45;

4. For 25,000 gallons up to 50,000, $75;

5. For 50,000 gallons up to 100,000, $125;

6. For 100,000 gallons up to 200,000, $175; and

7. For 200,000 gallons or more, $275.

Any person violating this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

C. The required license fee shall be collected in the same manner as other license fees collected under Virginia oyster laws.

Code 1950, § 28-136; 1950, p. 976; 1954, c. 178; 1960, c. 517; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-119; 1968, c. 747; 1979, c. 274; 1992, c. 836; 2009, c. 9.

§ 28.2-505. Sale of shells to Commission.

A. Each shucker or packer of oysters shall sell to the Commission at the prevailing market price up to twenty percent of the shells, unless the shells are planted in Virginia waters.

B. On or before December 1 of each year, the Commission shall notify each shucker or packer whether it will purchase by the following June 1 the shells so set aside. If notice is not given, the shucker or packer may dispose of such shells as he sees fit.

Code 1950, § 28-190.1; 1952, c. 648; 1962, c. 406, § 28.1-142; 1992, c. 836.