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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will have a tremendous impact on the recreational anglers if we don't do something today!!!!!

KEEP THE MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION BALANCED
OBJECT TO VIRGINIA SENATE BILL 1087

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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Form Letter

TFers Thanks for your quick response with this one!!!

The meeting is this Monday 8:30 am, so emails over this weekend are the most important way to let them know how you feel about this. Try not to use the same verbiage or they tend to count all of them as just 1 letter/email. Here is something that I sent out in different variations to all of the members on the post and to my representatives.

Senator Patricia Ticer,

I am really disappointed to read that this bill is even being considered.

As a member of the Central Virginia Sportfish Association and Stripers Forever, I am sympathetic to the commercial fishermen and the difficulty they are experiencing making a living because of the lack of quality fishing & crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay. Recreational Anglers have also noticed the drop in their fishing results too. But I realize that the real answer is to protect the fisheries for the long term, so they can proposer and we will all benefit. Adding more commercial fishermen to the VMRC is not the answer and should not be approved.

Respectfully,
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The current law states the following regarding Commission appointments.

A. The Commission shall consist of a chairman and eight additional members who, to the extent possible, shall be representative of all areas of interest in Virginia's marine resources, including commercial, recreational and environmental interests. At least one member shall, at the time of his appointment, have earned his livelihood for at least five years by working on Virginia waters and shall be licensed and registered as a commercial fisherman as defined in § 28.2-241,and one member shall be a representative of the sport fishing industry or a recreational fisherman who is not employed by the commercial fishing industry. The members, including the chairman, shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure.

And the proposed changes says this.

A. The Commission shall consist of a chairman and eight additional members who, to the extent possible, shall be representative of all areas of interest in Virginia's marine resources, including commercial, recreational and environmental interests. At least one member shall, at the time of his appointment, have earned his livelihood for at least five years by working on Virginia waters and shall be licensed and registered as a commercial fisherman as defined in § 28.2-241,; one member shall be both a commercial fisherman as defined in § 28.2-241 and a holder of an active license to take crabs; one member shall be a member of the Virginia Waterman's Association; and one member shall be a representative of the sport fishing industry or a recreational fisherman who is not employed by the commercial fishing industry. The members, including the chairman, shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure. "

The bill if approved would dedicate 3 of the 8 seats to working watermen, the one existing seat plus two more.

Oh and except for Senator Miller the folks on the list are on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. They will be holding a hearing on the bill (along with about 20 others) on Monday.

Here is the process. The Senate Committee will approve, kill or table (i.e. it could be revised) the bill at that meeting. There is also the potential that the sponsor would submit a substitute bill or withdraw the bill at the Committee meeting. If it is approved by the committee then the senate (i.e. your and my Senators) will vote on the matter within a week or so. If it passes it would be transmitted to the House where it goes through a committee and the House in the same manner. Assuming that it in both the House and Senate does not get modified in the House it then would be done except for the Governor's signature. If it gets modified in the house then it would have to go back through the senate process to get approved.
 

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Senator Patricia Ticer,

I am really disappointed to read that this bill is even being considered.

As a member of the Central Virginia Sportfish Association and Stripers Forever, I am sympathetic to the commercial fishermen and the difficulty they are experiencing making a living because of the lack of quality fishing & crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay. Recreational Anglers have also noticed the drop in their fishing results too. But I realize that the real answer is to protect the fisheries for the long term, so they can proposer and we will all benefit. Adding more commercial fishermen to the VMRC is not the answer and should not be approved.

Respectfully,
-------------
Sent a message, thanks for your verbaige!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Meeting Tomorrow Monday 8:30 am

Keep the emails to the representatives coming. The more recreational anglers that speak out the better!

Kevin Smith
Coastal Conervation Association-Virginia
 

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Senate Bill 1087

Sent the following to all the committee Senators. I hope it helps.

Dear Sir or Madam, we are writing to express our opposition to Senate Bill 1087 to add two more commercial waterman seats to the Virginia Marine Water Resources Commission. Currently there is one commercial waterman's seat and one recreational fisherman's seat. The addition of two commercial waterman seats will unbalance the commission. Licensed watermen and seafood dealers represent about .07% of Virginia's population. Increasing their representation on the commission would unfairly skew the commission to favor the interests of the commercial watermen at the expense of the other 99.93% of Virginians. I believe this attempt to skew the commission is in direct response to the closing of the winter female crab dredging and other catch limits on fish in the Chesapeake Bay. As you know the Bay is slowly dying and unfortunately the ability of commercial waterman to support themselves is dying with it. While painful for the Watermen it is no more painful than the loss of jobs due to the Ford plant closure in Norfolk. The seafood business in the bay is clearly a dying business. Most of the watermen need to change and move on to something else; just as the Ford employees had to. If you accede to this gambit by the watermen to rebalance the VMRC to favor the accelerated depletion of the Bay's resources, you will be destroying a valuable resource for all of the 7 million people that live in the Commonwealth and any chance we have to save it for all Virginians. We would also remind you, tourism is Virginia's largest industry. A good deal of that industry is driven by our water access to the Chesapeake system. Do you really think it wise to risk damaging our largest industry, especially in these economic times? We elected you to exercise foresight, intelligence and informed judgment to make good decisions on our behalf. Expanding the VMRC to include two additional commercial watermen's seats is clearly a bad decision. We expect you will do the right thing for the people of Virginia and not let Senate Bill 1087 move forward. Thank you for your service, time and attention
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Next Step To Take

I think the bill now goes to the Senate and eventually to the Legislature. (Not sure if the bill will be killed if the Senate votes no, but will check.) Time to start getting the word out about what happened, start letter writing, making phone calls and meeting with your Senators.

Thanks for your help so far. I will be glad to keep you posted after we discuss this in a meeting tonight.

Kevin
Coastal Conservation Association-Virginia
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Vote Follow Up Notes

I just received this from Frank Kearney CCA VA Governmental Affairs

SB 1087 increasing the number of commercial waterman passed the Senate Committee today by a vote of 13 for 2 against. I have attached a file with the vote and the new substitute. Also, SB 820 that would allow localities to change a registration fee on boats was defeated in the same committee.

The next stop for SB 1087 after a vote in the Senate will be the House committee. Start working on you letters now to oppose this legislation more later.
House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee
Chairman
Delegate Harvey Morgan, Gloucester, (804) 698-1098, [email protected]
Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, (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 (Bill's sponsor), 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]

SB 1087 Marine Resources Commission; one member shall be both commercial fisherman, etc.
John C. Miller | all patrons ... notes | add to my profiles
Summary as introduced:
Marine Resources Commission. Requires that, among the eight citizen members of the Marine Resources Commission, one member shall be both a commercial fisherman as defined in § 28.2-241 of the Code of Virginia and a holder of an active license to take crabs and one member shall be a member of the Virginia Waterman's Association.

Full text:
01/13/09 Senate: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/09 094450275 (impact statement)
01/26/09 Senate: Committee substitute printed 093130275-S1

Status:
01/13/09 Senate: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/09 094450275
01/13/09 Senate: Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
01/26/09 Senate: Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources with substitite (13-Y 2-N)
01/26/09 Senate: Committee substitute printed 093130275-S1

SB 1087 Marine Resources Commission; one member shall be both commercial fisherman, etc.

01/26/09 Senate: Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources with substitite (13-Y 2-N

YEAS--Ticer, Whipple, Hanger, Watkins, Reynolds, Ruff, Blevins, Obenshain, McDougle, McEachin, Petersen, Northam, Stuart--13.

NAYS--Puckett, Deeds--2.

ABSTENTIONS--0.

093130275
SENATE BILL NO. 1087
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
on January 26, 2009)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Senator Miller, J.C.)
A BILL to amend and reenact § 28.2-102 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 28.2-102 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 28.2-102. Commission membership; chairman; qualifications; terms; meetings.

A. The Commission shall consist of a chairman and eight 10 additional members who, to the extent possible, shall be representative of all areas of interest in Virginia's marine resources, including commercial, recreational and environmental interests. At least one member three members shall, at the time of his their appointment, have earned his their livelihood for at least five years by working on Virginia waters and shall be licensed and registered as a commercial fisherman as defined in § 28.2-241, and one member shall be a representative of the sport fishing industry or a recreational fisherman who is not employed by the commercial fishing industry. The members, including the chairman, shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure. An effort shall be made to include representation of diverse fisheries by the appointments of commercial fishermen to the Commission.

B. The chairman and two members of the Commission shall hold office for terms coincident with the term of the Governor making the appointments, or until their successors have been appointed and qualified. The terms of the remaining six members shall expire July 1, 1997, and these same six members shall be reappointed effective July 1, 1997, as successors. Their terms shall be as follows: two members shall be appointed for two-year terms, two members shall be appointed for three-year terms, and two members shall be appointed for four-year terms or until their successors are appointed and qualified. Thereafter, all All appointments shall be for terms of four years or until their successors are appointed and qualified. No person, except the chairman, shall serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. Any vacancy shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term.

C. The chairman shall be an experienced administrator with knowledge of seafood and marine affairs. He shall serve as Commissioner of Marine Resources.

D. FiveSix members shall constitute a quorum of the Commission.

E. The Commission shall meet on the call of the chairman or three members at such times as he or they may deem necessary, and at such places as he or they may designate.

Kevin Smith
Coastal Conservation Association-Virginia
 

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Who has more knowledge of the problems of overfishing- the weekend fisherman or the fisherman who's whole life is spent on the water ? Don't get me wrong the commercial guy needs to be kept in check but we really need the knowledge these guys have to keep from having big brother take your limits on some kids research of a ten foot area in the middle of a red tide streak . It happens this is not us or them its our children's children that are going to suffer for our mistakes. just a brain fart from an old fart tight lines
 
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