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Your Action is Urgently Needed

"SB1087 would be a tremendous setback for marine resources in VA. It will reverse 10 years of hard work" ...CCA Member Parks Rountrey

Senate Passes SB1087, VMRC Commercial Control Threatened

SB1087 passed the state senate on Wednesday, and now moves to the House of Delegates. The bill expands the number of associate VMRC commissioners from eight to ten, and dedicates THREE seats to commercial fishermen. One seat would remain dedicated to recreational fishing.

If this bill passes the House of Delegates, commercial fishing interests will have a voting block that will dominate decisions of the VMRC on all marine resources.

The speed with which this bill is moving through the General Assembly suggests that legislators are oblivious to the fact that they would be handing over virtual control of all of Virginia's marine resources to commercial fishing interests. The House will take up this bill next week, so we have about 3 or 4 days to inform our delegates that this is a dangerous bill.

You are urged to call and e-mail your Delegate, (click here to ID your delegate Welcome to the Virginia General Assembly - Who's My Legislator?) and ask them (or their legislative aide) to vote NO on tripling the commercial fishing seats on the VMRC. Also, call and e-mail the delegates on the Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources (listed below).

The current administration has not taken a position on this bill. Call Governor Tim Kaine's constituent hot line, and ask him to object to this bill. The number is 804-786-2211.

Here are some relevant points:

(1) The VMRC is charged with the responsibility of managing our public marine resources for the benefit of all Virginians. Over 60% of the agenda of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission relates to habitat issues.

(2) SB1087 would add two more dedicated commercial watermen to the commission, giving commercial interest THREE dedicated seats. This is clearly unbalanced for a Commission that is supposed to manage public marine resources for the benefit of all state residents, not just those who fish commercially or for recreation. SB1087 would destroy a balance, which has taken years to achieve.

(3) There is no justification whatever for creating a commercial watermen voting block, which will dominate VMRC decisions on all marine resources for years to come. Marine resources management should be driven by science and facts, not by the bias of any particular interest group.

(4) Commercial watermen are pushing for more representation by arguing that their arguments on the decline of the crab harvest were not properly heard by VMRC. On the contrary, VMRC held numerous Crab Management Advisory Committee meetings where most of the members are commercial crabbers. There were three more Commission meetings during which everybody who wanted to speak on the subject of crabs was given an opportunity. Scientific studies showed an alarming decline in the crab population, and the Governor of Virginia mandated VMRC to come up with regulations that reduced the female crab harvest by 34%. In an article in the Virginian Pilot on January 28th, it was reported that the female crab harvest for 2008 was 9.4 million pounds which is a 37% decline over the average haul for the last three years so the regulations approved by VMRC have been successful so far.

Call and e-mail these committee members:

House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources

Delegate Harvey Morgan (Chair), Gloucester, (804) 698-1098, [email protected]
Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, Chesterfield, (804) 698-1066,
[email protected]
*Delegate Beverly J. Sherwood, Winchester, (804) 698-1029, [email protected]
*Delegate R. Lee Ware, Jr., Powhatan, (804) 698-1065, [email protected]
Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr. Victoria, (804) 698-1061, [email protected]
Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Sr., Thornburg, (804) 698-1054, [email protected]
*Delegate Christopher B. Saxman, Staunton, (804)698-1020, [email protected]
*Delegate Clarke N. Hogan, South Boston, (804) 698-1060, [email protected]
*Delegate Edward T. Scott, Culpeper, (804) 698-1030, [email protected]
Delegate Daniel W. Marshall, III, Danville, (804) 698-1014, [email protected]
*Delegate Matthew J. Lohr, Harrisonburg, (804) 698-1026, [email protected]
Delegate Charles D. Poindexter, Glade Hill, (804) 698-1009, [email protected]
*Delegate Brenda L. Pogge, Yorktown, (804) 698-1096, [email protected]
Delegate Kenneth R. Plum, Reston, (804) 698-1036, [email protected]
Delegate James M. Shuler, Blacksburg, (804) 698-1012, [email protected]
Delegate Albert C. Eisenberg, Arlington, (804) 698-1047, [email protected]
*Delegate Stephen C. Shannon, Vienna, (804) 698-1035, [email protected]
*Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr. ,Accomac, (804) 698-1000, [email protected]
*Delegate David L. Bulova, Fairfax Station, (804) 698-1037, [email protected]
*Delegate Margaret G. Vanderhye, McLean, (804) 698-1034, [email protected]
Delegate Robert W. Mathieson, Virginia Beach, (804) 698-1021, [email protected]
Delegate Joseph F. Bouchard, Virginia Beach, (804) 698-1083, [email protected]

* Denotes members of the Chesapeake subcommittee who are likely to first hear the bill. Please call and e-mail each one.

The preceding was provided as a public service by the Coastal Conservation Association Virginia (CCA VA). Feel free to forward it to your associates. If you have any comments concerning this issue, or would like to have your name added/removed from the distribution list, reply to this message. The purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on the conservation of marine resources. CCA VA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose goal is to Conserve, Protect, and Restore marine resources for the benefit of all Virginians. Please visit our website located at Welcome to Coastal Conservation Association Virginia for more information

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1,422 Posts
Senator Miller:

I could hardly believe my eyes this morning reading about your plans to save the Chesapeake Bay.???

The Daily Press is not well informed.

Your SB 1087, which I spoke against on Monday and which all genuinely concerned about the Ches Bay recognize that your narrow interest bill putting two commercial watermen on the VMRC would set VA conservation back 30 years.

The reason the Bay is in such bad shape is that a weak and commercially dominated VMRC held the reins for so long.

For 15 years efforts were attempted to curtail Blue Crab harvests... VIMS scientists and folks close to the collapsing blue crab populations appeared before a narrow minded VMRC which would only pass token measures. "Do nothing", measures most observers called them.

Finally Governors listened, Pruitt retired as Chairman and now we have a strong and well educated VMRC headed up by Col. Steve Bowman . Along comes Sen John Miller and wants to scuttle years of work. He wants to , in his ignorance, dilute the best VMRC we have ever had.

You and the watermen are undermining the very folks that are trying to protect them from their self destruction.

I am in your district; I voted for you. This is the third e- mail I have written you on the matter; I was in Richmond in person last Monday and spoke opposing your regressive bill. You have never replied to any of my e-mails.

I have a long memory.

Anyone who cares about the health of the Chesapeake Bay is opposed to your SB 1087 !

Maybe we can stop this foolish bill in the House....or convince the Governor of your mischief and get him to veto the bill.

Dr. Robert Allen
1038 Port Harbour Arch
Hampton Va 23664

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