Massachusetts Adopts 'Trophy Slot' for Tautog - The Fisherman

Massachusetts Adopts ‘Trophy Slot’ for Tautog

During the fall of 2022, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) held public hearings and solicited public comment on a variety of fishery management regulations including measures affecting the recreational tautog fishery. Following approval by the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, DMF has enacted the Recreational Tautog Slot Limit and Trophy Fish Allowance for 2023.


The 2023 recreational tautog fishery is scheduled to open on April 1. In prior years, a 16-inch minimum size limit has applied. However, beginning in 2023, the fishery will be subject to a slot limit of 16 to 21 inches with an allowance for each angler to retain one trophy fish measuring greater than 21 inches each day. Tautog are measured in total length, which is the straight-line measurement from the tip of the snout to the farthest extremity of the tail.


2023 Recreational Tautog Regulations
Season Bag Limit Size Limit
January 1 – March 31 Prohibited N/A
April 1 – May 31 3 fish per angler 16” to 21”

One fish may be greater than 21”

June 1 – July 31 1 fish per angler 16”
August 1 – October 14 3 fish per angler 16” to 21”

One fish may be greater than 21”

October 15 – December 31 5 fish per angler 16” to 21”

One fish may be greater than 21”

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Tautog promotes uniform recreational regulations within a management region. Under this FMP, Massachusetts and Rhode Island comprise a single management region. This action realigns the two states’ tautog size limits, following Rhode Island’s adoption of the same slot limit and trophy fish allowance last year. Having consistent rules across jurisdictions enhances enforcement and compliance and should address impacts of the potential eastward movement of fishing effort into Massachusetts and Rhode Island to target the relatively healthy stock of tautog shared by the two states.