Vol. 29 Iss. 21 - June 17, 2013

Chapter 270
Emergency Regulation

Title of Regulation: 4VAC20-270. Pertaining to Crabbing (amending 4VAC20-270-10, 4VAC20-270-51, 4VAC20-270-56).

Statutory Authority: §§ 28.2-201 and 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Dates: May 29, 2013, through June 26, 2013.

Agency Contact: Jane Warren, Agency Regulatory Coordinator, Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, VA 23607, telephone (757) 247-2248, FAX (757) 247-2002, or email


This emergency action clarifies that individual and vessel harvest and possession limits for commercial or recreational crabbing in Virginia are daily limits.

4VAC20-270-10. Purpose.

The purpose of this emergency chapter is to allow for the conservation and rebuilding of the crab resource and to improve the enforceability of other laws pertaining to crabbing.

4VAC20-270-51. Harvester Daily commercial harvester and daily vessel harvest and possession limits.

A. Any barrel used by a harvester to contain or possess any amount of crabs will be equivalent in volume to no more than 3 bushels of crabs.

B. From March 16, 2013, through November 30, 2013, any harvester legally licensed for a crab pot license, as defined in 4VAC20-270-50 B, shall be limited to the following daily harvest and possession limits shown below:

1. 27 bushels, or 9 barrels, of crabs, if licensed for up to 85 crab pots.

2. 32 bushels, or 10 barrels and 2 bushels, if licensed for up to 127 crab pots.

3. 38 bushels, or 12 barrels and 2 bushels, if licensed for up to 170 crab pots.

4. 45 bushels, or 15 barrels, if licensed for up to 255 crab pots.

5. 55 bushels, or 18 barrels and 1 bushel, if licensed for up to 425 crab pots.

C. When multiple harvesters are on board any vessel, that vessel's daily harvest limit and possession limit shall be equal to only one harvest limit and possession limit, as described in 4VAC20-270-51 B, and that daily limit shall correspond to the highest harvest limit and possession limit of only one licensee on board that vessel.

D. When transporting or selling one or more legal crab pot licensee's crab harvest in bushels or barrels, any agent shall possess either the crab pot license of that one or more crab pot licensees or a bill of lading indicating each crab pot licensee's name, address, Commercial Fisherman Registration License number, date, and amount of bushels or barrels of crabs to be sold.

E. If any police officer finds crabs in excess of any lawful daily bushel limit, or barrel limit, or vessel limit, as described in this section, that excess quantity of crabs shall be returned immediately to the water by the licensee or licensees who possess in possession of that quantity of crabs in excess over of any single or combined lawful daily harvest limit or possession limit. The refusal to return crabs, in excess of any lawful daily harvest limit or possession limit, to the water shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter.

F. The bushel and barrel limits described in this chapter replace any provisions for bushel limits described in previous 4VAC20-300.

4VAC20-270-56. Recreational Daily recreational harvest and possession limit.

It shall be unlawful to take, by using an unlicensed dip net, or hand line, or two crab pots, or to harvest or possess, for personal use aboard any vessel, more than one bushel of hard crabs or two dozen peeler crabs per day.

VA.R. Doc. No. R13-3764; Filed May 29, 2013, 1:00 p.m.