There is still time to register for the free Orsted Fishinar Series on pelagic fish being held Wednesday, December 9, 7 p.m. via Zoom. Learn to target tuna, mahi, sharks and other pelagic fish in the near offshore with Capt. John McMurray, One More Cast
There is still time to register for the free Ørsted Fishinar Series on pelagic fish being held Wednesday, December 9, 7 p.m. via Zoom. Learn to target tuna, mahi, sharks and other pelagic fish in the near offshore with Capt. John McMurray, One More Cast Charters; Capt. Charlie Donilon, Snappa Fishing & Diving Charters; and Dick Pastore, expert pelagic fish angler/RISAA member. Supply Ørsted, wind farm developer, with valuable input, learn about the reef effect at the Block Island Wind Farm, and fish abundance in European wind farms.
Free tickets at https://districthallprovidence.org/calendar/ through the event listing and/or visit the Eventbrite registration page.
Fish stock movement and how should allocations change?
Climate change impacts are having serious effects on fish stocks on both our coasts, including stocks that are rebuilding. It’s going to take more to achieve sustainable management as ocean ecosystems continue to change.
Last month the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in conjunction with Russian scientists released a study that linked warming Arctic temperatures, changing wind patterns and shifting currents brought on by climate change to movement of commercially valuable Alaskan pollock in the Bering Sea.
Robert Foy, NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center director said. “To get an accurate assessment of pollock abundance so that resource managers can set sustainable catch limits, we have to be able to understand pollock distribution, which certainly looks different under a warm water regime.”
Here in Rhode Island and Massachusetts the fish and abundance of fish we catch today are different than the fish we caught ten years ago due to climate change impacts. Warmer water fish such as black sea bass, summer flounder and scup are here today in abundance. They are now an integral part of my charter business.
Fish like summer flounder moving north has created havoc with allocation issues particularly in our commercial fishery. Mid Atlantic boats that have the quota but no fish in their waters, so they have moved up the coast to fish. And New England boats have the fish but little allocation. And, the sad news is that cold water fish such as winter flounder, American lobster and cod have gone to cooler/deeper water north and offshore.
Equitable solutions need to be worked out, we need a plan and to put tools in place so shifting stock issues due to climate change impacts can be addressed. We need to address this issue of shifting stocks so the fisheries in our region have a future.
Last month I participated in an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sponsored roundtable discussion on ‘Adjusting fishery management as stocks shift’. The roundtable discussion had participation for recreational and commercial fishing, the science community, NOAA and members of east coast fishery management councils as well as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The workshop discussed the thorny issue of identifying shifting stock allocation options. The aim of the workshop was be to build a consensus of solution directions that can be sent to fisheries decision-makers to inform their efforts as they address spatial shifts in fish stocks. Key variables in quota allocations that were discussed included geographical shifts and historical catch. Output from the workshop has not been released yet.
When it comes to climate and fisheries, we need to continue doing the management practices we know are key parts of sustainability, like keeping fishing within Allocable Catch Limits (ACLs) and rebuilding overfished stocks. And, we need to make serious progress making our fisheries climate ready with new tools and approaches that are fair and take into consideration both historical catch as well as stock shifts.
We also need to address the root cause of climate change. Renewable energy sources, such as onshore and offshore wind farms and solar energy creations will help us fight climate change. I believe fisheries and responsible offshore wind development can coexist.
The Block Island Wind Farm is living proof. There, commercial gill nets are set up in the wind farm area, commercial boats trawl parallel to the wind farm and rod & reel commercial and recreational anglers are able to fish right up to the turbine pylons.
Recreational and commercial fishers need to engage in climate change impacts dialogue by participating in allocation discussion at the state, regional and national level and advocate for funding of NOAA, academic and Council initiatives to study climate impacts and possible allocation solutions. Additionally, anglers need to consider addressing and supporting solutions to the root cause of climate change impacts and the use of renewable energy like offshore wind farms and solar energy generation. Where’s the bite?
Tautog, cod and black sea bass. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We were still able to put decent tautog catches together when able to get out this week. High hooks left with limit catches. Pool fish have been between 8-10 pounds. The water are still on the warmer side and the bite should continue to be for weeks to come. Cod fishing was also effected by the ground swell. The scup and sea bass did not care but the cod were keeping a low profile this week.”
Striped bass. Todd Corayer, expert light tackle/fly fishing angler and author (visit www.fishwrapwriter.com) reports catching multiple striped bass in the slot range of 28 inches to less than 35 inches from his kayak in Salt Pond. Todd said, “I was really taken by the size of the fish this weekend. I hope that's a harbinger of a solid winter on the salt ponds. Fishing definitely shut off when the tide stopped. Stripers were feeding near the surface, even in deep water. Blue over silver herring imitation, like an SP Minnow or such (any brand name on my best lure has long been scraped off) with single hooks. No more treble hooks for this guy. In cold water, water was 37 at sunrise then 41 at 9 a.m., removing a single hook takes far less time for a freezing cold fish gasping for air. Pearl or minnow colored plastics, 3 or 4 inches on 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jig head are killers right now. If that doesn't work, cast something ridiculous, like gaudy green and pink or something similar. You just never know this time of year.” Expert surfcaster Gil Bell said, “Sunday morning was going to be my last outing but I caught and released a nice FAT slot striped bass so guess I’ll continue into December. I try to fish the pre-dawn hours that coincide with incoming or high tide. Big striped bass enter shallow water under cover of darkness and retreat to deeper water once the glow of sunrise appears.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com. Photo A- Capt. Charlie Donilon