HELP US INSURE PROPER MANAGEMENT & REGULATION OF COMMERCIAL CATFISH HARVESTING IN VIRGINIA

HELP US INSURE PROPER MANAGEMENT & REGULATION OF COMMERCIAL CATFISH HARVESTING IN VIRGINIA

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Virginia Catfish Anglers Association started this petition to Virginia Marine Resources Commission and

Members from the VCAA attended the August 1 meeting held by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Charles City, VA that was supposedly the preliminary discussion of the VMRC Electro Fishing proposal. During this meeting we learned that the Virginia Marine Resources Commission has full jurisdiction and authority over the tidal waters of Virginia and the commercial harvesting in both fresh and saltwater fisheries has already decided to reinstate their Commercial Electro Fishing operations and expand it to include three SHOCK BOATS & permits for those and their chase boats-Dip Net permits. Each person that holds one of the Electro Harvesting permits will control how many chase boats they  These operations will be assigned to three rivers with one operation on each river. They will be allowed unlimited harvest of both Blue and Flathead catfish. 

The only positive notes coming out of this meeting is the SHOCKING OPERATIONS will be limited to Monday through Thursday and the VMRC claims to be willing to accept input from anglers and the public on size limits as well as proposals we see necessary to preserve our fisheries and our rights as anglers. This is where we must not waiver and everyone needs to help us hold them to their word.

The VMRC claims their interests are to help better our fisheries by removing the overpopulation of small fish in the rivers allowing the fisheries to produce bigger and more frequent Trophy Class fish as well as balancing the bio mass in the rivers. Throughout extensive research done by myself, other members of our organization and the VDGIF research the highest percentage of the Blue Catfish in all of the tidal rivers in Virginia is in the 12”-22” range. According to data presented by VDGIF at this meeting our initial research has been confirmed that each river has a significantly low population of fish over 22” and drastically low numbers of fish over 40”.

It is our proposal that all commercial harvesting of catfish in Virginia waters be limited to a size range of 12”-22” with no possession above or below those sizes. This like other regulations requires monitoring and enforcement to insure these operations are in compliance and not being allowed to completely decimate our fisheries at will without penalty. These operations would be impossible to monitor efficiently on the water with limited numbers of Game Wardens and LEO to do so and vast areas that would have to be covered. To think this would be possible is unrealistic. We propose that this be achieved be designating specific launch points for all commercial boats and having someone inspect every harvest pulled from the rivers. This would be followed by stiff penalties for violating regulations

Lastly we feel it is necessary that ample exclusion periods be given for major holidays and priority tournaments in which Electro Fishing would not be allowed for three days prior and the day of.

 

LIST OF OUR PROPOSALS

1. NO FISH UNDER 12” or over 22” are to be taken by commercial catfish harvesting operations on public waters of Virginia.

2. Commercial Operations be required to use designated launch/access points on each river where each harvest will be checked for compliance by individual/individuals compensated by VMRC. Appropriate penalties such as fines and license revocation be implemented to deal with violations.

3. A Three Day prior grace period be given to significant holidays (July 4, Labor Day, Memorial Day and etc.) and national level/large scale tournaments. During these periods no Electro Fishing permitted without exception.

These requests should not be unacceptable by VMRC but we need your help to show them that we as anglers and concerned citizens are not going to stand by while our fisheries are destroyed due to poor management as far to many fisheries have been and continue to be. We must get these stipulations in place before these operations begin next year. Please help us accomplish this by signing this petition and everyone is also encouraged to address letters of our concerns to the VMRC directly.

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!