Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters


Boat shelters on private piers. Exempts, within certain limitations, open-sided roof shelters and boat lifts on private, noncommercial piers which are themselves exempt from permit requirements, from requirements for a permit from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. This exemption does not preempt local ordinances, does not apply if an adjoining property owner objects, and only applies to roof structures providing 700 square feet or less of coverage for a single boat slip or lift.
Patron - Jones, J.C.

Placing food in peeler crab pots. Allows the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to develop regulations regarding the placing of food for male (jimmy) crabs in peeler pots. Currently, there is a statutory prohibition on placing such food in peeler pots.
Patron - Bloxom

Oyster inspection tax. Extends the sunset date for the oyster inspection tax from June 30, 1998, to June 30, 2000.
Patron - Bloxom

Marine Resources Commission; limited sale of gear licenses and permits. Allows the Commission to issue gear licenses or permits to fish to any person who has resided for at least five years on an island in the Commonwealth that is at least three miles from the mainland, despite any limits the Commission has set on the numbers of such permits or licenses to be issued.
Patron - Bloxom

Potomac River Compact. Conforms provisions in Virginia's Potomac River Compact to technical changes in the Compact's language made in 1996 and 1997 by the State of Maryland.
Patron - Murphy

Definition of coastal primary sand dune. Excludes from the definition of "primary coastal sand dune" sand that is deposited for purposes of beach replenishment or nourishment. The slope of mounds of sand deposited for beach replenishment or nourishment may not be used in determining the lateral or landward limits of a coastal primary sand dune.
Patron - Wardrup

Marine Resources Commission; membership. Requires that one of the nine members of the Marine Resources Commission be a representative of the sport fishing industry or a recreational fisherman who is not employed by the commercial fishing industry.
Patron - Croshaw


Saltwater recreational fishing licenses. Removes the seaside exemption from the requirement to have a saltwater recreational fishing license.
Patron - Bloxom

Marine Resources Commission. Abolishes the position currently referred to as the Commissioner of Marine Resources. The person holding the position of commissioner will no longer serve as the chairman or be a member of the Commission. Instead, he will become Director of the agency. The membership of the Commission will remain at nine members; however, a new member will have to be appointed to replace the Commissioner's membership on the Commission.
Patron - Wardrup

Removal of non-conforming structures from state waters. Requires the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to require the removal of structures that do not conform to permits issued by the Commission whether or not the person responsible for the structure has paid a monetary penalty.
Patron - Purkey

Carried Over

Oyster and clam aquaculture. Ensures that riparian landowners in Virginia Beach will have a 50-foot zone from mean low water in which to engage in oyster and clam aquaculture in the water column. The bill does not constitute a grant of a lease of state bottomland for the purpose of harvesting oysters or clams from state-regulated planting grounds.
Patron - Purkey

Fishery regulations. Requires that all fishery regulations, except for emergency regulations, promulgated by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission remain effective for one year, without being amended. Criteria for determining when regulations may be published as emergency regulations already exist in statute.
Patron - Morgan

Commercial fishery grants. Establishes the Fishery Resource Grant Program. This program, to be administered by the Graduate Marine Science Consortium, a consortium made up of the graduate marine education departments at the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, will award grants to commercial fishermen for the following: new fisheries equipment, environmental pilot studies, aquaculture of marine-dependent species, or seafood technology. The bill also creates a seven-member advisory board to review grant proposals.
Patron - Diamonstein

Restrictions on taking crabs. Requires any size and catch restriction on peeler and soft crabs to be identical.
Patron - Barry

Gray trout management. Requires any regulation of the commercial gray trout fishery to apply the same limit on catch to every method of catch.
Patron - Barry

Restrictions on crab dredging. Prohibits crab dredging on Sundays and makes the carrying or transport of crab dredges or crab dredging equipment by boat on Saturday or Sunday prima facie evidence of violation of the prohibition. Crab dredging is currently banned on Saturdays. The offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Patron - Barry

Wetlands mitigation banks. Allows for the compensation required to be made for adverse impacts to wetlands to be made by the use of wetlands mitigation bank credits including those from a wetlands mitigation bank that may be owned by the person causing the damage. Mitigation banks must comply with state and federal laws, regulations, and guidance in order to be approved for use. Currently, only compliance with federal guidance is necessary for approval. The Virginia Department of Transportation is also allowed to use, for mitigation purposes, off-site mitigation areas that conform to the same requirements.
Patron - Whipple