The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Tautog Management Board has lowered the harvest reduction necessary for states to comply with Addendum VI. Under the revised stock assessment update, states from Connecticut through Virginia are required to reduce harvest by 39% from the average of 2008 and 2009 levels. This change responds to errors found in the 2011 assessment update, which overestimated the 2009 fishing mortality rate and, therefore, the associated harvest reduction necessary to achieve the fishing mortality target. Previously, states had been required to reduce harvest by 53%.
Approved in late 2011, Addendum VI lowers the fishing mortality target to 0.15 and requires states to implement measures to achieve this target. Additionally, it allows for reductions based on regional/state fishing mortality rates for states that can demonstrate a lower regional fishing mortality rate than the coastwide assessment.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island submitted and received Board approval for a regional assessment which demonstrated a local fishing mortality rate below the Addendum VI target. Therefore, they will not need to make any harvest reductions. All other states are required to meet the 39% reduction in harvest and can employ a combination of bag limits, size limits and/or closed seasons based on approved methodologies to achieve the reductions.
All states have the option of implementing more conservative management measures. The revised assessment results show the stock continues to be overfished with overfishing occurring.