06-23-2006, 09:05 AM
The following came up at a recent VMRC Fisheries Management Advisory Committee meeting. Changes are being discussed between VMRC and DGIF regarding the use of gill nets by recreational anglers (but not commercial) above the fresh water license line in VA rivers. The plan is to make it illegal to do so. I know a number of you cat fishermen use them so I just thought I would keep you in the loop.
It was presented as an informational topic with very little dicussion. Folks use these to catch gizzard shad. The issue seems to be bycatch. I raised the point that they need to consider the bycatch from commercial fisheries such as perch and herring in the same waters and make sure that they are not doing away with a minor source of bycatch and allowing the major source to continue unfettered, just because someone complained.
I will try to dig up a specific contact at DGIF. (or maybe one of you guys know the proper person to talk to.) I will pass on information to my contacts at VMRC.
06-23-2006, 10:02 AM
I dont use my gill net very much anymore but I must say when I did there was very little if any bycatch. I have heard of a few others catch other than the intended gizzard shad but I don't see it being worth making them illegal. It really wouldn't bother me since I dont use tehm much I just hate to see another law for no reason.
06-23-2006, 10:15 AM
I don't use my gill net much at all anymore. But thanks for the information Tom. Please keep us informed if you hear anything else on the topic. The gill net regs are complicated enough as it is. Mabye permanently restricting the use of them will resolve the confusion.
I am also in agreement with you Tom. If someone is concerned about the bycatch of recreational guys catching gizzard shad, they really need to take a look at the commercial guys in the same waters. It almost sounds like someone is just picking on the catfishermen by not including the commercial guys on this. I can say that when I was using a gill net, the bycatch was very minimal.
06-23-2006, 11:57 AM
thanks Tom- i have a nrand new one and the license to go w/ it - never had it in the water !
06-23-2006, 12:12 PM
Recreational bycatch? What a ridiculous accusation by someone obviously UNINFORMED or falsely attempting to create a hysteria.
Which individual within VMRC or VDGIF brought this forward? I wish to call that person and inquire how this concern came about. Someone bmail me if you know.
I don't even use mine anymore but it is an atrocity of justice to have the recreational angler take a hit when the commercial guys are raping the resource. jesus h. christ.
I'm all for enforcement if there are legitimate concerns about illegal recreational gill net usage. Neil mentioned an abuse last year, others have complained about gill nets across navigable channels. Those are opportunities for enforcement of existing laws, not reasons to make gill nets illegal for us little guys.
Next thing will be the castnets. I swear, this sounds like powerful commercial interests simply trying to deliver some payback from recreational anglers seeking realistic commercial harvest rules. Why one earth someone at VMRC/VDGIF would even listen to some small time fishmongers is beyond me. Omega is about the only business I know of making any decent money.
Thank you Tom.
06-23-2006, 03:23 PM
What do you mean by "above the freshwater license line"?
...above the saltwater/freshwater line?
06-23-2006, 03:48 PM
In the 2-3 years I have had mine, other than shad, I have caught:
2 small stripers. Released unharmed
approx. 10 small catfish. Released unharmed.
3 gar. Released unharmed.
That is about it. Probably used the gill net 100 times. Never in the water more than 10 minutes. 90% of the time I am pulling it back in within 2-3 minutes.
06-23-2006, 07:01 PM
SEEM TO ME THAT THE TROT LINES DO MORE DAMAGE TO FISHERIES UP THERE - BIG CATFISH OF COURSE- REMEMBER THAT THREAD ?
06-23-2006, 08:39 PM
The person that brought it up at VMRC was Commissioner Russel Garrison. He used to sit on the board at DGIF. I do not know where he got his information. He did mention it at few of the commission meetings. I will try to find the .mp3** files that apply so that folks can hear what he said for himself.
The problem that someone from the audience brought up was folks setting their nets out and not tending them. But of course that is illegal if you have a recreational gill net license.
The other issue that seems to have come up is that a gill net is not an allowed gear for recreational harvest of fresh water species. Staff also mentioned that the limit on large catfish would be changed to one per person. The implication was that it would apply to recreational and commercial alike.
**BTW one of the more progressive things that VMRC does is to post links that allow you to listen to .mp3 files of each of the agenda items. It makes it easy for folks to hear what was really said. I certainly would be nice if other agencies and government orginizations would step up to the 21st century and do the same.
06-23-2006, 08:42 PM
Oh and here is the answer to the line question. Technically VMRC has jurisdiction up to the fall line but DGIF has regulatory authority for fresh water species.
Freshwater/Saltwater License Lines on Tidal Rivers
Persons fishing upstream of the designated lines on the following waters must have a valid freshwater fishing license while those fishing below the lines must have a valid saltwater fishing license:
…..Potomac River: Route 301 Bridge
…..Rappahannock River: Route 360 Bridge
…..Piankatank River/Dragon Run: The 1st set of power lines immediately upriver of Anderson Point
…..York River System (including the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers): Route 33 Bridges
…..James River: A line connecting Hog Point and the downstream point of the mouth of College Creek
Below these designated lines a freshwater or saltwater license will be valid on any tidal portion of any tributary entering the above mainstem waters.
The following waters are entirely freshwater and require a freshwater fishing license throughout: Meherrin River; Nottoway River; Blackwater River (Chowan drainage); Back Bay, Northwest River, and North Landing River and Intercoastal Waterway upstream to Great Bridge Locks; and Dismal Swamp Canal below (or South) of Deep Creek Locks.