I attended the VMRC meeting (as well as the Finfish Meeting last week) and eveyone should be proud and be congratulated: Travelstead, Bowman, Pride, Powers, and that entire room FULL of folks that were concerned with how this issue was going down. VMRC and Tidalfish stirred up a lot of interest. Guys and gals took off work and took time to show up. During the meeting it was mentioned that many had contacted Commissioners and Bowman with their concerns. The VMRC listened and toned down their proposals. They were reminded why this thing came about in the beginning: to open up the Maryland line to a few charterboats up in Deltaville and Reedville. And By going back to the beginning, they are progressing. The only thing certain is that a few VA boats will gain access to Maryland.
From there it appears there will be an ad-hoc committee chosen by Col Bowman , the Chair of VMRC which may include most sectors (including the VA Beach Tourist Industry).
We are always proud of the guys and gals that serve us at VMRC, but sometimes a little doubt creeps in....
Everyone did a great job....This will all work out ....
VMRC will spend more time and include all factions that are interested.
What actually passed was a two tier guide license system.
Class A is limited entry and has reciprocity's with MD. The rules that have been talked about in the past apply.
Class B is open entry and with it you are allowed to charter anywhere in VA waters. It is still not clear if the class B has all of the restrictions such as a coast guard license, drug testing, etc. that were proposed for the Class A license.
Because it was such a big change from the initial regulation staff stated that they would write up the specifics and take them to the Commission in December for ratification.
Also discussed at the end was requiring all MD boats to have some type of permit to fish in VA so that they (a) could be counted and (b) held a permit that could be revoked by the Commission for violations.
tom, thanks i talked to a va. capt. and he said it passed. does that mean that anyone now or in the future if you are a va. resident can get a guide lic. in other words, can a va. resident who gets the uscg lic. in a year can become a guide??
I bought a commercial registration and a non-resident entry license last year at this time with the understanding that this would allow me to buy the charter boat license. I was putting off the charter license until Jan.'09. Will I be allowed to purchase the Class B? I have no intentions of commercial fishing so what good is this license to me now?
Thanks to all who've taken action to safeguard Virginian's ability to enter the charter industry. A "tip of the hat" to Mr. Travelstead for his creative solution to the problem.
It's my strong recommendation that out-of-state boats be required to carry a guide permit to fish VA waters (regardless of any fees)... giving the VMRC the enforcement and accounting tool they need to better manage our fishery.
Amen to what Al B said...lots of people poured a lot of time and effort into this by keeping it on the front burner and constantly communicating with Mr Travelstead throughout this issue. I have been pretty harsh on Mr Travelstead and his position and I am here to say he has earned a dose of respect for his willingness to hear what we were telling him and coming up with a comprehensive, well thought out plan that works all the way around. I have a new found confidence in Mr Travelstead and the VMRC...I came to the meeting "loaded for bear" and was completely disarmed when he laid out his proposal. It was actually the first time in my life wear I was proud of a bureaucrat. Hats off to Mr Travelstead and the VMRC for doing the right thing...
I do still feel that the MD boats need to have a guides license to fish VA water so that there is an accountability factor and a means for revocation should we need to do so.
Everyone have a beer on me and a great Thanksgiving...btw the wx is looking pretty doggone good for some slobs and maybe a run offshore to the BFTs WX FORECAST
I read a few questions in the previous posts in this thread that concern me, that seem to be misunderstood.
"Class A is limited entry and has reciprocity's with MD. The rules that have been talked about in the past apply.
Class B is open entry and with it you are allowed to charter anywhere in VA waters. It is still not clear if the class B has all of the restrictions such as a coast guard license, drug testing, etc. that were proposed for the Class A license."
I hadn't checked it out if Maryland has these regulations in their State Regulations, but if these restrictions where only noted in the Class A and not the Class B then it is probably because they do. Regardless all these so called restrictions already apply to all Charter Captains under Federal Regulations which carry a heavier fine for violations. Coast Guard Licence, Enrolled in a Drug Testing Program, Unexpired Alcohol testing Kit on board, More extensive Safety Gear, Vessel Trip Reports for every trip, (TWIC) Transportation Workers Identification Card, and the list goes on.
"I bought a commercial registration and a non-resident entry license last year at this time with the understanding that this would allow me to buy the charter boat license. I was putting off the charter license until Jan.'09. Will I be allowed to purchase the Class B? I have no intentions of commercial fishing so what good is this license to me now?"
The commercial Registration License is to allow you to purchase a Commercial Gear License and land Commercially caught fish. Unfortunately it seems you wasted a few dollars.
For those of you who want to start a Charter Boat Business, Unfortunately I have never found a good check list to follow, which would probably be out-dated in a week anyway if there was one. I don't intend to discourage anyone who really wants to do this for a living, but I found its better to go into it knowing in advance the many hurdles you will need to jump to achieve this goal, and avoid extensive fines or law suits. I personally thought getting the Charter Captain License (Merchant Marine Officers License) was the easiest and least expensive part of the process.
Research these three entities thoroughly; they all have website and list contacts to call if you want to talk to a real person.
City, for your business license-they don't like tax evaders, this includes paying the commercial property tax on your boat and gear.
State, Regulations vary from state to state, as you can see now our current permitting system is about to be modified. Charter Boat Permit, now a Guide License, Charter Boat Striped Bass Permit and reporting system registration.
Federal, Coast Guard website-CFR's Code of Federal Regulations a must read. Homeland Security for your TWIC card. (NMFS) National Marine Fisheries Service website for your Charter Fisheries Permits like Seabass, Flounder, Tile fish, N/E multi species and Highly Migratory Species for Charter Fishing.
Note: None of these entities care if you only charter once a year or full time, the fines are the same.
Again I'm not trying to discourage anyone who really wants to do this, but you should know what your getting into before you spend more money then you expected and then quit before reaching the goal. (NACO) National Association of Charter boat Operators is a real good source of information and updates that can be automatically sent to by email or snail mail. The (VCBA) Virginia Charter Boat Association is also a good organization to get involved with if you are going to get started, you get membership with NACO, Website and Magazine Advertising, constant updates and early notification of changes to the Local and National Charter fishing industry or regulations, Port Supply Card. If you disagree with anything the VCBA does, the most effective way to voice your opinion is at a meeting before an issue is voted on for action.
As it has been said , A BIG THANKS goes out to all that attended the meetings and those of us that wrote letters in concern of this issue. It seems we have been able to actually come to a meeting ground on this issue that will keep most if not everyone happy. I also applaud Mr. Travelstead with pursuing an idea that Mr Powers actually came up with I believe, and going forward with it. I look forward to being involved in the future meetings as I feel now that public input can and will make a difference!