Fri08262016

Last updateWed, 24 Aug 2016 3pm

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King George YMCA offers numerous activities for active older adults

Active older adults have discovered lots of classes and activities at the King George Family YMCA.

If...

Tractor Supply, King George officials move forward with development planned for Route 3/US 301 intersection

Tractor Supply’s developer has purchased the property intended for its retail store in King Ge...

Colonial Beach hosts 37th Rod Run to the Beach

Cars, cars and more cars.  

Colonial Beach hosted the 37th Annual Rod Run to the Beach last week...

Plans for new W&L high school are proceeding, but cost remains in question

The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and the Westmoreland School Board are steadily proceedi...

Paul Mountjoy, well known Westmoreland journalist dies

Paul Mountjoy of Kinsale, a well-known journalist who was recently elected president of the Montross...

NSWC Dahlgren testing may produce very loud noise Aug. 18-19

Access to the Potomac River Middle Danger Zone To Be Restricted During Testing

DAHLGREN, Va. - The Na...

20160323cctower

 

King George

SETTING

New Mary Washington Healthcare facility serves area seniors fighting cancer

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

When Mary Washington Healthcare opened a cancer clinic in Montross, at the Kings Highway location of the former Mid-Rivers Cancer Center operated by Dr. Christopher Walsh, seniors in the area breathed...

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Colonial Beach

SETTING

Colonial Beach resident one of nation's first female national park rangers

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Colonial Beach's Pocahontas Schuck, 76, was honored last weekend to work as a volunteer at the National Park Service's Humpback Rock Visitors Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, reprising the role she f...

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Westmoreland

SETTING

Plans for new W&L high school are proceeding, but cost remains in question

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and the Westmoreland School Board are steadily proceeding toward the building of a new Washington & Lee High School and sports complex in Montross. &nb...

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Sports

SETTING

New coach, new players, new season for W&L football

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Washington and Lee High School's coaches are not clear on what kind of unit the Westmoreland County high school will field Thursday night when the Eagles varsity football team takes the field against ...

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Area Deaths

SETTING

Obituaries, Aug. 24, 2016

Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Obituaries, Aug. 24, 2016

Anthony E. Gerald , affectionately known as “Tony” was born on June 4, 1950 to the late Verona Small Gerald and Charles Gerald in Canal Zone - Panama.  

Tony entered into eternal rest o...

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Columnists

SETTING

Virginia Outdoor Updates

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show

Since this column last ran, we enjoyed visiting the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show down at Richmond International Raceway. The Virginia Deer Classic is held there every...

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Office-for-rent Jrnl Bldg 20130925

Marine Police target oyster poachers

Increased enforcement and toughened penalties aim to protect booming oyster stocks from unscrupulous thieves

Newport News — This year Virginia Marine Police will combat oyster theft by air, land and sea in an intensive effort to crush what has become an epidemic of poaching. The public oyster season is now open.


“We mean business. We will vigorously pursue anyone who violates the oyster regulations, and we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said Virginia Marine Police Chief Rick Lauderman.

“Stealing oysters from the public oyster grounds, private leased grounds or from oyster sanctuaries, in particular, will not be tolerated. Oyster poaching in Virginia will stop.”

A number of Marine Police Officers have been dedicated to search for oyster violations as their top priorities. An airplane will prowl the skies, patrolling for suspicious activity on both public and privately leased oyster grounds. Other techniques and equipment will be used, as well.

And the Virginia Marine Resources Commission comes armed to this fight with a renewed commitment to revoking violators’ commercial fishing licenses and with a new tool: Revocation of all saltwater fishing privileges, as allowed by a new state law that went into effect on July 1. The Marine Police is the Commission’s law enforcement division.

In fact, the Commission recently adopted new sanction guidelines that call for the revocation of commercial fishing licenses for even a single egregious offense. This is a tougher standard from prior guidelines, which called for a license suspension hearing on a third court conviction of fishery regulations within a calendar year.

Just last week, on Sept. 24, the Commission voted unanimously to revoke the fishing licenses of five commercial oyster harvesters who had pleaded guilty in criminal court to repeatedly harvesting more than their daily allowable bushel limits of oysters. Two of those five watermen saw their licenses revoked for a year, followed by a year of probation, and three were revoked for two years, which is the maximum allowed under current state law.

“Those who violate our oyster laws will face arrest, as well as the revocation of both their licenses and their right to fish in tidal waters,” said VMRC Commissioner Jack Travelstead. “They could be banned from any type of commercial fishing activity, even packing fish someone else caught. They’ll need another line of work for awhile. We anticipate a good oyster season this year, and law-abiding watermen should not have to suffer because of thieves.”

“Oysters are ecologically and economically important, and the Commission is committed to preserving a resurgent oyster stock and to protecting a substantial investment in oyster replenishment,” Travelstead said.

A single adult oyster can purge up to 50 gallons of water a day, and help clean the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Oyster reefs provide important forage and refuge habitat for invertebrates, as well as juvenile crabs and finfish species.
Over the past decade, the oyster harvest in Virginia has increased ten-fold, from 23,000 bushels in 2001, to an estimated 250,000 bushels in 2012. In that time, the dockside value of the oyster harvest increased from $575,000 to more than $8.26 million. The harvest is projected to jump to 320,000 bushels this year, which would make it the largest oyster harvest in Virginia since 1987.

“Oyster stocks are on the rise. We have invested a lot of time, effort and money into making that happen,” said Travelstead. “More oysters in the water may tempt some unscrupulous watermen. If so, this is a warning. We will not allow these stocks to be plundered.”

The Marine Resources Commission spent $2 million on oyster replenishment this summer, thanks to a historic level of funding from Gov. Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly.

Roughly 1 million bushels of oyster shells were planted on public oyster beds, which was an estimated 1 billion individual empty oyster shells, enough to fill approximately 4,000 dump trucks.

Every $1 spent by the state to plant oyster shells yields $7 in economic benefits in the form of larger harvests and increased jobs for oyster shuckers and oyster packing houses, when the oyster larvae that attach to the shells grow to market size in three years.

 

John Bull
VMRC

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