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ASMFC SEEKS INPUT ON TAUTOG MANAGEMENT

The ASMFC's Tautog Management Board is seeking public comment on the Public Information Document (PID) for Draft Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Tautog.
By ASMFC  |  August 24, 2015
Tags: inshore, offshore, fisheries management
ASMFC SEEKS INPUT ON TAUTOG MANAGEMENT

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Tautog Management Board is seeking public comment on the Public Information Document (PID) for Draft Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Tautog. The PID responds to the findings of the 2015 benchmark stock assessment which, unlike previous coast-wide assessments, evaluated stock status regionally to reflect differences in life history characteristics and harvest patterns. Based on its endorsed regional approach, the assessment also recommended associated biological reference points to guide management at the regional scale. Since tautog are currently managed on a coast-wide basis, the Board initiated the PID to consider a new regional management approach.

As the first step in the development of an amendment, the PID seeks to gather information concerning the tautog fishery and to provide an opportunity for the public to identify major issues and alternatives relative to the management of this species. Input received at the start of the amendment development process can have a major influence on the final outcome of the amendment. Issues presented in the PID include FMP goals and objectives, adaptive management, monitoring requirements and illegal fishing of tautog. In addition, in order to streamline the development of the plan amendment, the PID seeks specific input on the selection of regional stock areas for management use.

The intent of the PID is to solicit comments on a broad range of issues for consideration in Draft Amendment 1. The public comment should generally focus on “How would you like the tautog fishery and resource to look in the future?” The Board is interested in hearing from the public on all issues associated with the fishery and resource. Comments should not be limited to issues included in this document.

General questions and points to consider:

  • What should the boundaries be for each regional area and which management area approach do you support?
  • Should the goals and objectives of the FMP be revised?
  • Are these goals and objectives still appropriate for the tautog fishery and resource?
  • What changes to the goals and objectives need to be made to reflect the needs of the fishery and the resource?
  • Which five objectives do you feel are the most important?
  • Do you support the use of regional management measures?
  • What are the most effective management measures in place?
  • Are there management measures that can be improved upon to better achieve management goals and objectives?
  • Are there additional state management efforts that should be included in the FMP?
  • Do you support the ability to change reference points based on the latest peer-reviewed stock assessment recommendations without the need of a management document?
  • Do you support the use of regional reference points?
  • Do you support stock rebuilding timeframes that correspond to the needs of each regional management area (i.e. timeframes that are based upon respective stock condition relative to their regional reference points)?
  • Do you support the use of adaptive management to meet the goals and objectives of the fishery?
  • Do you support increased monitoring to improve our understanding of tautog life history and stock dynamics as well as aid in development of future stock assessments?
  • Are undersized tautog harvested for recreational bait or the live fish market in your state? If so, is this a concern to you?
  • Should there be an ASMFC mandated commercial fish tagging program to minimize the unlawful commerce of tautog and provide traceability of all fish in commerce back to the state of origin. Should the point of tagging be the point of harvest and/or the point of sale?
  • As a structure-oriented species, do you have regional habitat recommendations, recognizing that the Commission and the state marine fishery agencies have limited regulatory authority for habitat?
  • What other changes should be made to the tautog fishery that are not covered by the topics included in this document?

The states of Massachusetts through Virginia have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the PID. The details of those hearings are as follows.

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
Tuesday, September 29th at 6:30 PM
Fairfield Inn & Suites
Vineyard Conference Room
185 MacArthur Drive
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Contact: David Pierce david.pierce@state.ma.us or 617.626.1532

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Wednesday, September 30th from 6 - 9 PM
University of Rhode Island Bay Campus
Corless Auditorium
South Ferry Road
Narragansett Rhode Island
Contact: Jason McNamee jason.mcnamee@DEM.RI.GOV or 401.423.1943

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Thursday, September 24th at 7 PM
CT DEEP Marine Headquarters
Boating Education Center (Rear Building)
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Contact: David Simpson David.Simpson@ct.gov or 860.434.6043

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Thursday, October 1st at 6 PM
Bureau of Marine Resources
205 North Belle Mead Road
East Setauket, New York
Contact: Steve Heins Steve.Heins@dec.ny.gov or 631.444.0435

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
Tuesday, September 22nd from 6:30 - 9:30 PM
Ocean County Administration Building
Public Hearing Room 119
101 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, New Jersey
Contact: Russ Allen russ.allen@dep.nj.gov or 609.748.2020

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Thursday, October 8th at 6 PM
DNREC Auditorium
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware
Contact: John Clark john.clark@state.de.us or 302.739.9914

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wednesday, October 7th at 5 - 6:30 PM
Ocean Pines Library Conference Room
11107 Cathell Road
Ocean Pines, Maryland
Contact: Michael Luisi michael.luisi@maryland.gov or 410.260.834

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Tuesday, October 6th at 6 PM
2600 Washington Avenue, Third Floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Rob O'Reilly rob.Oreilly@MRC.virginia.gov or at 757.247.2248

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the PID either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The PID is available directly at asmfc.org and can also be accessed on the Commission website asmfc.org under Public Input. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 23, 2015 and should be forwarded to Ashton Harp, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at aharp@asmfc.org (Subject line: Tautog PID). For more information, please contact Ashton Harp, at aharp@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

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