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DWR scoping period open for new boating and fishing regulations

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Department of Wildlife Resources

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is conducting its biennial process for changing the regulations guiding recreational fishing, aquatic wildlife management and boating. New regulations will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

The public is encouraged to provide proposals on any regulation change and how it could impact fish populations, recreational experience, the recreational experience of anglers, the recreational experience of other outdoor users (hikers, campers, etc.) and the recreational experience and perceptions of farmers, residents, motorists and other citizens. Any proposals must be submitted to the DWR by Feb. 19.

Mike Bednarski, chief of fisheries for DWR, said the public is encouraged to provide proposals or comments on anything they would like the department to look into. He said, while the scoping period is focused primarily on fishing rules around the state, comments on boating and other concerns are also encouraged.

Bednarski said the DWR welcomes any and all comments. “I don’t think their is anything that is too general or too specific,” he said.

The DWR generally receives around 200 comments during these biennial scoping periods, according to Bednarski. He said the DWR would like too see even more to get a better feel for what kind of regulation changes the public would like to see.

Once comments are received at the end of the scoping period on Feb. 19, they will be reviewed and presented to the DWR’s Wildlife and Boat Committee on March 23 and to the full DWR board on March 24.

Any regulations changes considered from the comments will be presented later this year for a final vote. If approved, the regulation changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Comments can be submitted to DWR online at dwr.virginia.gov/regulations.

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