The public comment period closed March 4 for proposed amendments to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for tautog.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission may approve the amendments during a meeting March 24 in Alexandria, Tina Berger, the commission’s public affairs specialist, said March 7.
Chris Vonderweidt, a fisheries management specialist for the commission, said that the Tautog Management Board initiated the development of an addendum to the tautog plan last May to restrict illegal harvest and prevent an increase in fishing mortality rate before completion of the next stock assessment.
"While difficult to quantify, reports of illegal harvest of live tautog are common," a draft addendum said. The Tautog Technical Committee said that "poaching activities appear more widespread than previous years because unlicensed buyers now advertise in mainstream outlets such as Craigslist and newspaper classified ads."