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Looks like the VA Watermen blame the VMRC for declines and have decided to not attend VMRC meetings until they get their way.

Please send letters of oppostion to your delegates & committee members to Proposed Bill # SB 1087. If passed this will will add 2 more VA commercial watermen to VMRC?

This vote will be about the future of our marine resources and fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay!!

Letter to Editor Times Dispatch


Published: February 7, 2009
Drastic Changes Needed On State VMRC Board

Editor, Times-Dispatch:
We need to get more watermen on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission board.

How can we have a professional, working VMRC without members of the maritime profession? We can't.

How do real estate agents and insurance salesmen manage a fishery? Not very well. The VMRC needs a major overhaul. For far too long, the board has had a stranglehold on the watermen.

Due to the mismanagement of this agency, the needs of our Chesapeake Bay and the men who work its waters have been ignored and neglected. The results are the drastic decline of the Bay's oysters, fish, and crabs.

I have personally begged VMRC to open up more oyster grounds so the watermen can work close to home, so they could save money on fuel and boat slip rent, and most important, so not every boat in the state is working one little area to death.

I am tired of watermen being blamed for overharvesting. It is VMRC's policies that have been the problem.

VMRC is allowing acres of oyster beds to lie there, silt over, and die.

VMRC requires all watermen to send in daily reports on their catches, the names of their boats, and who they sell their catch to.

Unfortunately, the VMRC doesn't seem to know what to do with this information. It could use it to see which areas are doing well and which are not -- without spending any more state money.

The watermen no longer go to the VMRC meetings -- not because they don't care, but because they do not have any say in the decisions that are made. Drastic changes must be made, or we will see not only the demise of the watermen, but our oysters, crabs, and fish as well. Can we afford that?

Tammy Croxton. Kilmarnock.
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