FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MARCH 27, 2008
PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER 202/289-6400
ASMFC Withdraws New Jersey Tautog Noncompliance Finding
Washington, DC - ASMFC Chair George D. Lapointe has notified the
Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior that the Commission has withdrawn
its noncompliance finding for the State of New Jersey with regards to its
tautog management program. New Jersey notified the Commission on March 25,
2008 that it has implemented management measures that achieve a 25.6
percent reduction in exploitation as required by Addenda IV and V of the
Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Tautog. The measures, which include
recreational bag limits, and season closures for both the recreational and
commercial fisheries, are consistent with those previously reviewed and
approved by the Commission's Tautog Technical Committee and Management
"We are delighted that New Jersey, a major participant in the tautog
fishery, has committed to joining our states in taking the necessary steps
to rebuild this valuable species," states ASMFC Chair George D. Lapointe.
"With stock biomass at a third of its historical average, it is critical
that all the states and stakeholders dependent on this fishery share in the
burden of restoring this important resource."
On February 7, 2008, pursuant to the provisions of the Atlantic Coastal
Fisheries Cooperative Management Act of 1993, the Commission notified the
Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior that the State of New Jersey was
out of compliance with the provisions of the Addenda IV and V to the Tautog
Plan. Specifically, New Jersey had not implemented Addenda IV and V's
mandatory harvest reductions, which require the state to implement a
management program that will achieve a 25.6 percent reduction in
exploitation by January 1, 2008. The reduction is necessary to initiate
rebuilding of the overfished tautog stock and to maintain effective
cooperative management of the resource.
On March 11, 2008, the Secretary of Commerce concurred with the
Commission's determination of noncompliance and notified the state that the
federal government would impose a moratorium on fishing for, possession of,
and landing of tautog in New Jersey state waters on April 1, 2008. With
submission of the Commission's March 26th letter to the Secretary regarding
New Jersey's compliance, the moratorium will not be imposed.
For more information, please contact Robert Beal, Director, Interstate
Fisheries Management Program, at (202) 289-6400.