by Audrey Thomasson
LANCASTER—Waterman Lisa Rose appealed to Lancaster County supervisors last week for their support of legislation to protect what she called the 98% of watermen who obey the law.
During the public comments section of the February 23 board of supervisors’ meeting, Rose asked supervisors to send an endorsement of House Bill 1573 to Gov. Terry McAuliffe to help protect the livelihood of watermen.
According to the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System, the bill, patroned by District 91 Del. Gordon C. Helsel Jr. of Poquoson and District 100 Del. Robert S. Bloxom Jr. of Mappsville, provides that when the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) revokes fishing privileges for a violation of the tidal fisheries law, it can only revoke the particular type of license that is applicable to the fishery in which the violation occurred.
Under current law, the VMRC is authorized to revoke all of the fishing privileges a person has been granted, irrespective of the location and type of fish described in the license. The bill also reduces the maximum duration of the license revocation from five years to two years and requires the VMRC to accept credit card payment of any civil penalty it assesses for fishing under a revoked license.
“Watermen are ticketed for minor offenses” such as if the wind blows your license off the window of the boat, Rose said.
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