Hearings: Draft Addendum VI to the Tautog FMP

Atlantic coastal states from Massachusetts through Virginia have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum VI to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Tautog.

The date, time, and location of the scheduled meeting for Virginia follows:

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
February 15, 2011; 6:00 PM
2600 Washington Avenue, 4th Floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Jack Travelstead at (757) 247-2247

The Draft Addendum proposes two changes to the tautog management program:

(1) address the illegal trade of live tautog

(2) prevent increases in fishing mortality (F) prior to the completion of the next assessment.

The Draft Addendum was initiated in response to concern regarding the condition of the tautog stock and possible increased pressure on the stock due to illegal fishing activities and continued overfishing. Over the past couple of years, the Board has received reports from its Advisory Panel, Technical Committee, and the fishing public expressing concern about the illegal trade of live tautog and increased poaching. Options to address illegal live harvest include prohibiting recreational anglers from possessing live tautog and requiring recreational anglers to mark any live tautog.

Given that coastwide F continues to exceed the target established in Addendum IV, the Draft Addendum also proposes measures to prevent increases in F prior to the completion of the next assessment (spring/summer 2011).  Specific options include requiring states to implement additional restrictions to meet the F target, a reduction of the F target, a requirement that state regulations prohibit possession in excess of existing bag/possession limits, and recommendations for tautog management in federal waters. The Draft Addendum also contains several other management issues for public comment that may be developed and considered in a future addendum.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum, either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. The Draft Addendum can be obtained via the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (703) 842-0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on March 4, 2011 and should be forwarded to Chris Vonderweidt, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; (703) 842-0741 (FAX) or at cvonderweidt@asmfc.org (Subject line: Tautog Addendum VI). For more information, please contact Chris Vonderweidt at (703) 842-0740 or cvonderweidt@asmfc.org

source: ASFMC