Document Type

Report

Department/Program

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date

12-19-1997

Abstract

Tautog (Tautoga onitis) have become a popular food and sport fish from Massachusetts to Virginia over the past ten years. Tautog are a long lived (30 years), late maturing (3-4 years), slow growing species. Although the maximum age recorded in Virginia is 31 years, recent studies have found that over 95% of the population is less than 12 years old (Hostetter and Munroe, 1993; White et aL, 1996). Adult tautog inhabit hard bottom wreck and reef environments, which are limited in Virginia's waters and are easily located and re-located by fishermen. Tautog are known to migrate inshore-offshore in New England waters, with minimal movement of adults in the north-south direction (Cooper, 1966; Lynch, 1991 ). However, tautog movements are less well documented in Virginia waters (Bain and Lucy, 1996, 1997, unpublished 1997 data). The combination of slow growth, late maturity, limited habitat, and increased popularity amoung fishermen makes tautog stocks vulnerable to overfishing.

Keywords

Wrasses - Mortality |-- Virginia --Atlantic Coast; Tautog

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