Oyster sanctuary rule being aired in legislature, Lancaster courtroom

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—The Virginia Marine Resource Commission is pressing ahead with a criminal case against a local waterman who crossed an oyster sanctuary with dredging equipment last November on his way home from volunteering to help promote the industry.

Jonathan Somers was charged with a felony and misdemeanor by VMRC officer Austin Brown last November when he motored his boat home from the Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of the Bay event at Tide’s Inn in Irvington.

Despite Somers’ explanation that he never put the dredging equipment in the water and was showcasing his equipment as a community service, Brown arrested Somers and confiscated his dredging and other equipment, including his GPS system.

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