From Labor Day to Memorial Day, haul seine operations will be ongoing at First Landing State Park. Haul seining is dependent on weather conditions and activity in the fishery so the watermen are unable to post a schedule of operations.
Haul seining, a fishing method using long nets that encircle fish,will be ongoing along the First Landing State Park's beach area through Memorial Day. Of all the types of "net fishing," haul seining is the one that allows for the removal of live and undersized species during the "hauling" process. The nets are set approximately 25 yards off shore. After a period of time, the nets are then hauled to the beach by several fishermen. As the net tightens and is pushed to shallower water, the watermen can reach into the net and release any protected, undersized, or unwanted species back into the bay.
The Cape Henry area, portions of which are part of First Landing State Park's beach area, has historically been an important fishing area during the colonial era providing seafood for the growing population of the area. Fishing rights to the area were often disputed and very valuable. According to local historian, Rob Barefield, in the 1770s there was public outcry when some colonists attempted to privatize fishing operations on Cape Henry which led to the area being designated as a "public fishery."
The haul seining operation at Virginia Marine Resource Commission and is fully licensed to conduct haul seine operations on the beach area. Public observation on the beach is allowed and the beach area is still open to the public. However,observers must heed instructions or warnings from the watermen and take care not to impede fishing operations.
LOCATION: From I-64, take Northampton Blvd.-U.S. 13 North (Exit 282). Go through eight lights, then turn right at the Shore Drive/U.S. 60 exit (last exit before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel). Take a right on Shore Drive and go four and a half miles to the park entrance. To reach the Chesapeake Bay Center, park office, camping or cabins, turn left off U.S. Rt. 60 at the stoplight and check in at the contact station. For the Trail Center, picnic area and trails, turn right instead.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, three and a half hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 20-30 minutes (this facility is in the area); Roanoke, five and a half hours
Click here for a Google map. Latitude, 36.918020. Longitude, -76.051547.