The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Tautog Management Board has approved the development of an amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Tautog. The amendment will explore the establishment of new regional stock areas and associated reference points. The amendment will propose two options for regional stock boundaries, each with three regional stock units. The first option will include the following regions: Massachusetts to Rhode Island, Connecticut to New Jersey, and Delaware to North Carolina. The second option will include Massachusetts to Connecticut, New York to New Jersey, and Delaware to North Carolina.
The regional options are based on the findings and recommendations of the 2015 Tautog Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report. Unlike previous assessments, which assessed the stock on a coastwide basis, the 2015 assessment evaluated stock status regionally to reflect differences in life history characteristics and harvest patterns. The three-region approach balances a smaller geographical scale and data integrity, while also reducing the risk of overfishing.
As the first step in the amendment process, staff will begin to draft a Public Information Document for Board consideration at the Commission’s Summer Meeting in August. The PID will gather information concerning the tautog fishery and resource and provide an opportunity for the public to identify and comment on major issues relative to the management of this species. The PID will also seek input on the public’s preferred regional breakdown. For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, ISFMP Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.842.0740.