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Make choices. Show your opinions. Improve the Tautog fishery!

We are researchers studying fishery management and angler behaviors.

Thank you for participating in this survey! This survey will take about 13 to 17 minutes for most people to complete. You don't need to finish it in one sitting - click "Go to the survey" button again, you can go back to the survey and continue from wherever you leave it.

Contact: Eric Schultz: 860-486-4692;


As a tasty table fish, Tautog (Tautoga onitis) is a choice catch, and recreational landings account for about 90% of total landings coast-wide (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, 2015). Tautog’s popularity among anglers and slow rate of reproduction make it vulnerable to overfishing.

Previous studies suggest that larger female Tautog have significantly greater fecundity than smaller female Tautog (e.g., LaPlante and Schultz, 2007). Yet, existing harvest restrictions tend to concentrate harvest on the larger fish. Thus, alternative management strategies, such as the harvest slot limit which only allows harvest of fish between minimum and maximum size limits, are suggested. Such practices are expected to increase the abundance of old fish in the population, making the fishery more sustainable and ultimately improve angling opportunity.

A Scientific Fact

Fisheries managers have determined that the Long Island Sound Tautog stock is overfished. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the agency managing this species, the Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB, the total weight of adults in the population) is one sixth of what it was in 1984, as shown here.

Scientists have proposed alternative regulations of reducing harvest by changing: the size of fish that anglers can keep (size limit), the number of fish that anglers can keep in a trip (daily possession limit), and/or the duration of the fishing season (season length).

In the Survey

In the survey, you will be evaluating different management options for recreational fishing of Tautog in Long Island Sound. After some introduction text and warm-up questions, you will be presented with different choice questions where you can choose your preferred management option.

Each choice question will contain three scenarios: the current management and two alternative management options. Each option includes all or some of the attributes in the table on the right-hand side. You can view the explanation of these attributes here (the numbers serve as examples), or click the explanation button before each choice question in the survey.



Funded by

Current management Detail
Harvest Restrictions:
Size limit
Min: 16
No Max
Only fish larger than 16 inches can be kept
Daily possession
3 per day Can keep as many as 3 fish per day
Fall season
58 days There are 58 days in the Fall season for Tautog
Enforcement (measured in No. of enforcement officers)
16 There are 16 enforcement agents checking Tautog regulations in CT.
Outcome in 5 years:
Tautog caught (compared to current level)
100% of current An average angler will catch 100% of what they catch now
Keepers caught (compared to current level)
100% of current An average angler will as many keepers (16” and larger based on the corresponding size limit) as they catch now
Lunkers caught (per 10000 fish caught)
8 An average angler will catch 8 fish longer than 23” out of every 10000 caught
Cost (license and stamp fees)
$32 per year The cost is for the license fee under current management. This cost may increase under alternative management, and the increased costs will be used for fishery management activities sufficient to deliver the outcomes described in the scenario.