08.02.05.20

.20 Tautog.

A. An individual may not catch or possess:

(1) A tautog less than 16 inches total length; and

(2) A tautog from May 16 through June 30.

B. Season and Creel Limit.

(1) From July 1 through October 31, an individual may not catch and possess more than two tautog per day.

(2) From November 1 through May 15 of the following year, an individual may not catch and possess more than four tautog per day.

C. Commercial Gear and Tagging Requirements.

(1) A pot or trap used to catch tautog shall have hinges or fasteners on one panel or door made of one of the following degradable materials:

(a) Untreated hemp or jute string of 3/16 inch in diameter or smaller;

(b) Magnesium alloy timed float releases (pop-up devices) or similar magnesium alloy fasteners; or

(c) Ungalvanized or uncoated iron wire of 0.094 inch in diameter or smaller.

(2) Before removing any tautog caught for commercial purposes from a boat or removing a boat from the water, a person shall affix a tag supplied by the Department to the cheek bone of the tautog.

(3) Tags:

(a) Shall be supplied by the Department;

(b) Are not transferrable;

(c) Expire at the end of each calendar year;

(d) May not be reused, defaced, modified, or counterfeited;

(e) Shall be securely affixed to a whole tautog or accompany fillets until sale to the final consumer; and

(f) Shall only be used by the commercial tidal fish licensee to whom they were assigned.

(4) A licensee shall return unused tags to the Department not later than February 15 of each year.

(5) Tautog caught for commercial purposes shall be landed in the state that is identified on the tag.

D. General.

(1) The Secretary may modify catch limits or size limits or open or close a season in order to implement the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan for Tautog by issuing a public notice on the Departmentís website.

(2) The public notice shall state its effective hour and date and shall be published on the Departmentís website at least 48 hours in advance of the effective hour and date.

(3) The Secretary shall make reasonable effort to disseminate public notice through various other media so that an affected person has reasonable opportunity to be informed.

(4) A violation of the restrictions set by the Secretary in accordance with this section is a violation of this regulation.

(5) An individual may not sell or purchase a commercially caught tautog, alive or dead, that has not been tagged in accordance with this regulation.