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KNOW YOUR NEW YORK BLACKFISH REGULATIONS

Blackfish regulations this season differ between the North Shore and the rest of the Island’s waters.

By Fred Golofaro  |  October 1, 2018
KNOW YOUR NEW YORK BLACKFISH REGULATIONS
Deena Lippman with a nice late season tog caught aboard the Shinnecock Star.

Long Island anglers looking forward to targeting blackfish this fall need to be clear on new regulations that went into effect this spring as a result of an Amendment to the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for Tautog that was adopted in October 2017 by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). While there was a spring season during the month of April this year, few anglers took advantage of it, and those who did found the catching difficult. Most anglers will be fishing on the new regulations for the first time this fall.

The amendment was adopted in response to the 2016 tautog stock assessment update. This update showed that the Long Island Sound and New York Bight tautog populations are overfished, and overfishing is occurring. The amendment applies more restrictive fishing rules for both recreational and commercial fishers specific to each area. DEC adopted rules consistent with this new amendment that will help maintain the long term sustainability of the tautog fishery, while remaining in compliance with the ASMFC.

The new regulations went into effect back on April 1 of this year. The result was that the commercial and recreational tautog fisheries will be split into two management regions with separate seasons and possession limits.

Recreational Tautog Regulations:

Long Island Sound Management Region (Marine and coastal district waters lying east of the Throgs Neck Bridge and west of a line that runs from Orient Pt, NY to Watch Hill, RI): April 1 – 30 (2 fish) and October 11 – December 9 (3 fish)

NY Bight Management Region (Marine and coastal district waters lying outside of the Long Island Sound Region) April 1 – 30 (2 fish) and October 15 – December 22 (4 fish)

The minimum size limit for recreational anglers in both regions is 16 inches total length.

Commercial Tautog Regulations:

Long Island Sound Management Region (Marine and coastal district waters lying east of the Throgs Neck Bridge and west of a line that runs from Orient Pt, NY to Watch Hill, RI): May 7 – July 31 and September 1 – November 23

NY Bight Management Region (Marine and coastal district waters lying outside of the Long Island Sound Region): April 16 – Jan 25

There is no change to the commercial possession limit or minimum size, which is 15 inches total length and 25 fish per vessel (except 10 fish per vessel when fishing lobster pot gear and more than six lobsters are in possession).

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