Menhaden advisory panel and public hearing

No Fluke

Captain Dave Monti
Posted 8/14/13

Last week the Atlantic Menhaden advisory panel of the RI Marine Fisheries Council met to review new catch limits and management plan amendments that will go to public hearing this week. Both …

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Menhaden advisory panel and public hearing

No Fluke

Posted

Last week the Atlantic Menhaden advisory panel of the RI Marine Fisheries Council met to review new catch limits and management plan amendments that will go to public hearing this week. Both commercial and recreational fishing community representatives at the meeting expressed concern over the extremely low quota the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) assigned to RI. The quota, based on the historical catch of Atlantic Menhaden landed in RI, is so low that it effectively eliminates any fish being caught commercially and landed in RI (this includes fish sold to bait shops for striped bass fishing). For years out-of-state fishermen have caught fish in RI but landed them in other states. Millions of pounds of fish have been caught in RI, however, they have not counted toward our quota as they were landed in other States. The advisory panel urged DEM fish managers and ASMFC representatives to be very vocal about the low quota and demand more fish for RI.

Meeting participants suggested the quota be based on fish caught in RI waters as DEM has records of fish caught in the Bay as all commercial boats fishing in the Narragansett Bay Management Area for Atlantic Menhaden call in and out when fishing in RI and are required to report the amount of fish taken.

Mr. G. Goodwin of Seafreeze Ltd., Rhode Island (one of the largest producers of sea-frozen fish on the east coast), said, "Atlantic Menhaden were part of our plans and now we are completely shut out of the fishery. We planned on catching fish in federal waters and in other states and would then have the product brought back to RI for marketing. These plans are now impossible with this management plan."

The Marine Fisheries Divisions of DEM will solicit public comment on Atlantic Menhaden and a variety of other proposed commercial management plan regulation amendments this week. The meeting will take place Thursday, August 15, 2013, 6:00 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Corless Auditorium, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for details.

Commercial and recreational fishermen are urged to attend this meeting as it is one of the opportunities we have to express our point of view on fishing regulations in RI.

Salt Ponds Coalition

annual meeting Aug. 19

The Salt Ponds Coalition will hold their annual meeting Monday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, 50 Bend Road, Charleston, RI. The special guest speaker will be David Vallee, hydrologist-in-charge, NOAA/National Weather Service at the Northeast River Forecast Center. Mr. Vallee will examine the impact of hurricane Sandy on Rhode Island. The presentation will shed light on what the regional might be in for with future storms. The public is invited to attend.

Tautog season opens

Tautog season opened August 1 and will run through October 18 with a three fish/angler/day limit. The limit increases to six fish/angler/day from October 19 to December 15. The minimum size for tautog is 16" and there is a ten fish per boat limit (does not apply to party/charter boats).

DEM begins

construction of fishing pier at Colt State Park

The Department of Environmental Management, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, announces the start of a reconstruction and expansion project for the fishing pier at Colt State Park in Bristol. The site will give disabled anglers and others improved access to one of the state's prime fishing areas.

The fishing pier at Colt State Park was built in the 1980s. Although the structure of the existing pier will remain, all of the pier decking and railings will be removed and replaced as part of the reconstruction project. In addition, the timber float and piles that anchor the float to the eastern side of the existing T-pier will be rebuilt and relocated. The expansion project also includes construction of an ADA accessible, 66-foot T-shaped extension to the existing pier. The rails will be lowered to a height of 34 inches in four handicap-accessible stations at the end of the pier extension to allow for fishing from a wheelchair.

The new pier is expected to open in spring 2014.

Where's the bite

Striped bass fishing slowed this week except for Block Island where it is very strong. Angler John Stavrakas said, "We went back to the SW ledge on Thursday... we had a great day fishing the flood tide again for bass to 38 lbs mixed with bluefish. We fished eels and were halfway out on the ledge." Ken Landry of Ray's Bait & Tackle, Warwick said "We fished with Capt. Justin White of White Ghost Charters one night last week off Block Island with eels. We fished all over the Island but the southwest side was holding the big fish. Justin landed a 54 pound bass, the smallest fish we kept was 42 pounds. All the striped bass action seems to be at Block Island with some fish being caught off Newport and along coastal shores." Eric Appolonia of North Kingstown fished with his son Alex Sunday and said, "We fished with umbrella rigs and with amber colored tube (and worm) on the south west side of BI. Tube and worm produced the largest bass to 35 pounds."

Scup fishing has been strong with anglers often catching their limit (30 fish, ten inch minimum). They have been large too. Ken Landry of Ray's Bait said, "There are scup everywhere in the Bay from Conimicut to the Bridges anywhere there is a rock pile or structure."

Fluke (summer flounder) fishing remained strong when wind and tide were in line which was not often the case this week. The Francis Fleet party boats reported a strong fluke bite on Sunday and

Monday. This Saturday they said, "… (we) saw a good number of fluke limits around the boat with the vast majority of the anglers aboard having several fish apiece to take home." The Francis Fleet also reports a strong black sea bass and cod fish bite. Visit them at www.francesfleet.com for more information. My wife Virginia caught a keeper fluke in the trough between Rose Island and the red channel maker this Sunday in a half hour window before wind direction changed and made hooking fluke difficult. The bridges are holding fish, particularly the Newport Bridge said Ken Landry of Ray's Bait. Capt. Rich Hittinger (RISAA vice president) said, "…the fluke fishing has been very good all around Block Island in 55 to 65 feet of water… Jacob Butterworth of Warren, RI caught a 6.9 pound fluke on my boat last week while we were drifting eels off the SW corner of the Island looking for bass. Fluke have also been off the north end and off the SE corner… you need to drift several spots until you find them, but the size has been pretty good, with a high percentage of fish over 19". Tom Pelto and his father fished the mouth of the Sakonnet River just south of the 80 foot line last week for fluke and black sea bass. On the RISAA blog Tom said, "By the time we stopped at the bottom of the tide we limited out on sea bass all between three to five pounds with smaller runts mixed in. Amazingly we hooked six fluke and five were legal fish."

Fresh water fishing. Craig Castro of Erickson's Bait & Tackle said, "Fresh water fishing has been good. Customers are landing both trout and bass in local ponds."

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license and a charter fishing license. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net.

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