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This will have a tremendous impact on the recreational anglers if we don't do something today & Monday.


Your help is needed TODAY.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources will be holding a hearing on SB 1087 Monday January 26th at 8:30 in the morning. If passed, this bill will dedicate two more Commission seats on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) to commercial watermen. This is in addition to the existing seat that is held by a working waterman. This compares to the one seat that is dedicated to be held by a recreational fisherman. CCA VA objects to this bill, and asks that you call or email the Senators on the committee TODAY to object to this bill. For your convenience the contact information for the members of the committee is included below.

Recreational fishermen deserve a balanced and fair Marine Commission. The balance between recreational and commercial representation will be destroyed if this bill is passed.

We urge you to call the bill's sponsor Senator John Miller (Newport News), and let him know that you object to the bill, even if it were amended to include dedicating more seats to recreational fishermen. Senator Miller's contact information is: (804)698-7501, [email protected]

Specifically, the bill will change state code such that four of the eight seats on the VMRC will be dedicated as follows: one seat to a working commercial crabber, one seat to a member of the Virginia Waterman's Association, one seat to a working waterman, and one seat to a recreational fishermen that is not employed by the commercial fishing industry. Currently, the law states that one seat must be held by a working waterman and one by a representative of the sport fishing industry or a recreational fisherman who is not employed by the commercial fishing industry.

CCA VA objects to this bill for these reasons:

First, Virginia code already requires a working waterman to hold one seat on the Commission. In addition, a recreational seat is designated, but as a practical matter, that just means someone who is not a working waterman since no criteria are enumerated. Adding 2 more "waterman" seats would cause an imbalance in representation in that licensed watermen and seafood dealers represent less than one one-thousandth (0.0007) of Virginia's population

Second, the appointment process already provides the governor with the authority to balance the Commission in any way he sees fit,"it shall be representative of all areas of interest in Virginia's marine resources, including commercial, recreational and environmental interests." The present Commission is very well balanced between commercial, recreational, and environmental interests, as it should be.

Third and finally, we have heard this bill has been submitted because the Commission has allegedly made "bad decisions," specifically with reference to the harvest of blue crabs. While we agree these decisions have been hard on watermen, and could be considered "bad" in that sense, we cannot agree the actions taken by Virginia Marine Resources Commission to protect and restore the blue crab are bad. In fact, we believe these measures are essential. The idea behind this bill seems to be that the makeup of the Commission should be such that whatever is good for watermen should prevail, and the good of the resource and the other 7 million Virginians who have an equal stake in that resource, should be always outvoted. Given this underlying rationale for the bill, it does not deserve to move forward.

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
Senator Patricia Ticer (Chair), Alexandria, (804)698-7530, [email protected]

Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Arlington, (804)698-7531, [email protected]

Senator Emmett Hanger, Mount Solon, (804)698-7524, [email protected]

Senator John Watkins, Midlothian, (804)698-7510, [email protected]

Senator W. Roscoe Reynolds, Martinsville, (804)698-7520, [email protected]

Senator Phillip Puckett, Tazewell, (804)698-7538, [email protected]

Senator Frank Ruff, Jr., Clarksville, (804)698-7515, [email protected]

Senator Harry Belvins, Chesapeake, (804)698-7514, [email protected]

Senator R. Creigh Deeds, Charlottesville, (804)698-7525, [email protected]

Senator Mark Obenshain, Harrisonburg, (804)698-7526, [email protected]

Senator Ryan McDougle, Mechanicsville, (804)698-75o4, [email protected]

Senator A. Donald McEachin, Richmond, (804)698-7509, [email protected]

Senator J. Chapman Petersen, Fairfax, (804)698-7534, [email protected]

Senator Ralph Northam, Norfolk, (804)698-7506, [email protected]

Senator Richard Stuart, Montross, (804)698-7528, [email protected]

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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