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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will hurt recreational anglers and could hurt Virginia's Fisheries if we don't speak up today. Meeting is tomorrow, Monday, morning at 8:30

VA is trying to add 2 more commercial watermen to the VMRC.Please take action today and send emails to the folks listed below and your representatives.


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]nate.virginia.gov

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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Done

Already contacted Senator Miller, Senator Ralph Northam & Senator Harry Belvins suggesting for fairness in decisions have the board representatives Recreational & Commercial be equal.:yes:
 

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VMRC Equal Representation

Thanks Kevin for the information. I left a voice message for Senator John Watkins -
Midlothian and will follow up with emails to others.

Keep us updated and let us know what we can do.

Steve Anderson - Midlothian
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Attend the Meeting

Anyone that can attend the meeting is one more person representing, or another voice speaking out for, fair treatment of recreational angler and better long term management of Virginias fisheries.

Kevin
Weekend Mistress
 

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The meeting is in Senate Room B in the General Assembly Building at 9:00 AM.

The General Assembly building is at the corner of N 9th Street and Broad Street. The entrance is on the mall side of the building. Senate Room B is on the first floor.

For some of these meetings you need to sign up before you are allowed to speak. I am not sure about this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Meeting Details

Tom,

Thanks for posting the details. The more recreational anglers that show up-the better we will be represented, even if they won't allow us to speak.

Kevin
Weekend Mistress
Coastal Conservation Association-Virginia
 

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Short and sweet...direct and to the point...sent to all of them...


Senators,

I am adamantly opposed to SB 1087 for the following 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.


R/S
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks-Keep It Up

TFers.

The meeting is tomorrow, Monday, 8:30 am. We need as many as possible. Keep them coming.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Time is Running Out!!

The meeting is Monday tomorrow morning at 8:30 am, so please let your opinion be heard, via an email or voice mail!!!!!

Kevin
 

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I must have made too much sense.

I see you guys started another thread. Had to get my comments out of the thread so I didn't hurt your cause. Good luck to you guys on stopping the bill.
 

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SB 1087 passed the Senate Committee today and the next stop is the State Senate for 3 readings and then turned over to the House Committee to study the bill and determine if it should go on or be killed.
 

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Go watermen!!!

Trust me guys and gals, this won't hurt your fishing at all. Recreatinal fisheries put over 10 million a year into Va's economy. The VMRC knows and understands that. Watermen don't put that much into the economy, you will be protected much more than you think.
 

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Bull island is correct on one thing...the amended bill 1087 will not effect recreational fishing at all. It is all about setting the VMRC and Virgnia politics back 30 or 40 years. This is about the situation with crabs and Crabbers in Chesapeake Bay. It is about how well the VMRC is doing . It is about the fact that the amended SB 1087 , now, by adding more members to the VMRC and by including more working waterment that the quality of the Board membships will make different decisions than have been made in the past.

I attended the Senate Agriculture and Tributaries committee along with 4 other recreational representatives and about 25 watermen. Some spoke in favor and some against. The Committee in their ultimate wisdom amended John Miller's resolution in some misguided belief that having two more watermen on the VMRC will restore the "crashed" crab population caused by "pollution". Does one really believe that after years and years of VMRC subcommittee and Committee discussion of the failed crab industry that additional watermen representatives will stop the cause of the crab failure by stopping pollution???

Get serious...I predict , that if the Senate Bill 1087 passes, there will be no , absolutely no change in the way the Govenor's of Maryland and Virginia direct their Marine Resource commissions manage the crab harvests. There will be no return to winter crab dredging of female crabs. I further predict that if the crab populations ever return to havestable quantities there will be no crab picking houses (no infrastrtucture) left and that the VA Blue Crab market will no longer exist, but will have been overtaken by cheaper imported crabs.

Our Va Senators that approved the SB 1087 and put some balm on the wounds the Tangier crabbers have brought upon themselves , have no concept of the crabbing industry, the collapse , the remoteness of a recovery and the economic suffering of the unemployed crabbers. These Va Senators are from southwest, & northern Va localites that really do not really care if the crabmeat they buy is from Vietnam or from Virginia...their desire is to put a little political anesthetic on the open sore of "the fact that the crabber have fished themselves out of a job"

The fate of the VA Blue crab industry was sealed a long time ago. Changing the VMRC will not bring back the Blue Crab. Tangier watermen must find other jobs...

Get used to it...your next crab cake will be made with imported crabs.

Bob Allen Hampton VA
 
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