--NJ Tries to Head Off Tog Fishing Moratorium
--NOAA Slams Down Tog Moratorium Starting April 1
Editor's Note: To make a long story short, New Jersey barely escaped a tog-fishing moratorium that the federal government fully intended to slam down on April 1. The gist was that the federal government was requiring a 25-percent reduction in tog catches, because the federals said the tog population along the East Coast was in trouble. But New Jersey disagreed, saying the tog population off the Garden State didn't require the reduction, arguing that tog basically remain in the same waters off the state's coast all their lives, and if other states faced a shortage of the fish, a reduction off Jersey couldn't help them. Nevertheless, the federals declared that tog fishing from Jersey would be shut down April 1, so New Jersey held an emergency meeting shortly before, proposed new tog regulations to meet the 25-percent cut, and in the below press release, the federal government is saying it approves, and no moratorium is therefore necessary. However, New Jersey's tog bag limit will now be reduced, and see the article in the first link above for the state's likely new tog-fishing regs.
From the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on 3/27:
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DC - ASMFC Chair George D. Lapointe has notified the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior that the Commission has withdrawn its noncompliance finding for the State of New Jersey with regards to its tautog management program.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 Board.
"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.
ASMFC Vision: Healthy, self-sustaining populations of all Atlantic coast fish species or successful restoration well in progress by the year 2015.
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