Licensing regulations addressed at workshop

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Licensing regulations addressed at workshop

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reviewed proposed commercial and party and charter boat licensing regulation changes at a workshop held at the University of Rhode Island (URI) last week.  Items on the agenda included commercial fishing licensing language changes designed to make regulations more succinct. 

Additionally, making electronic reporting mandatory for party and charter vessels was reviewed.

The aim of mandatory electronic reporting would be to capture better effort data from the for-hire sector resulting from using actual trips instead of estimates.  Long-term benefits could include flexible management programs specifically for the for-hire sector. Presently eighty percent of ‘active vessels” holding federal permits in RI already do electronic trip reports as a Federal requirement.

Public input is being sought to present to the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) at the June 26 meeting. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for the May 23 workshop presentation that outlines all proposed commercial and for-hire license changes.

 

Charter Boat Association makes Jonnycake Center donation

The Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association recently donated 218 pounds of food and $155 to the Johnnycake Center in Peacedale, RI.  The donations were made at the Association’s annual banquet.

 

A lot of wind about ocean wind farms

Last week there was a flurry of news from some commercial fishermen saying that ocean wind farms planned for waters off Rhode Island and Massachusetts would take away some of their valuable fishing grounds and we need to put the brakes on developing them.

Here are three other points of view on the subject.

First it is important to note that not all fishermen oppose ocean wind farms.  In fact, in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, recreational fishermen have embraced them.  They embrace them because when developed responsibly, wind farms create structure, like reefs, that grow sea life and attract, and as some claim, create fish for them to catch. 

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BFa84LION0  for a video that shows wind turbines at Block Island working as a fish attractant with mussel growth and fish of all sizes feeding.   Patrick Paquette, recreational fishing community advocate working with Anglers for Offshore Wind, said, “Recreational anglers are interested in wind farms in New England.  Nearly everyone we speak with has high praises for ocean wind farms if they are developed in a responsible way. They say the Block Island Wind Farm has had a positive impact on fishing.”

Second, not all commercial fishermen oppose windfarms when properly planned.  At an offshore wind forum last December, Chris Brown, a commercial fisherman who is president of the Commercial Fisheries Center that represents nine fishing industry trade associations, said, “Fishermen were initially terrorized as to what was going to be built, but last week I made a living towing all around the wind farm.”

Third,  we should take exception when commercial (or recreational fishermen) say wind farms are bad because they will prevent them from harvesting fish where they want to catch them. 

The fish I catch as a charter captain, and the fish commercial fishermen catch, are not my fish or their fish.  They belong to the people of the United States of America.  People living in Kansas or Missouri have just as much right to the fish and ocean as we do.  The decision to build ocean wind farm should be informed by user groups and fishermen but ultimately, since the ocean and fish belong to the people, the decision to build wind farms should consider the common good.

Governor Raimondo is right.  Utility scale wind farms will reduce our carbon footprint, help curb global warming and the impacts of climate change, reduce air pollution and provide a renewable source of energy at a superior rate for Rhode Islanders and US citizens for decades to come.  In Europe, some counties that embraced ocean wind farms early are producing so much energy that they are exporting it to other countries at competitive rates compared to other energy generation sources.

In December of 2017, over 50 scientists presented their research findings about the Block Island Wind Farm (BIW) at the Southern New England Offshore Wind Energy Science Forum held at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett, RI. The BIW was viewed as having no remarkable adverse effects on the environment, fish, mammals, birds and people.

We need to plan windfarms carefully doing research before, during and after they are built to make sure we are having no adverse effects.

So as a fisherman I say let’s move forward and support responsible ocean wind farm development.  Developed responsibly ocean wind farms are good for the fish, fishermen, Rhode Islanders and the people of the United States of America.

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater

fishing for trout and largemouth bass is holding up.  However, John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “We are selling a lot of shiners but customers say the fishing is getting a bit weedy and slowed a bit this week.”

Striped bass

fishing was stronger this week.  East Bay angler Brody Carroll said, “I caught by first striper, a 38”, 18 pound fish on the Cranston side of the Providence River using a six inch Slug-Go fishing with my Dad at sun down.”  Angler Dave Bonney said, “I fished from my kayak in the Providence River and caught a half dozen schoolies - but there were stripers EVERYWHERE - (or one taunting me over and over).  I fished Hogy soft baits and two poppers. They also seemed to be attracted to my kayak paddle strokes.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “We weighed in a 32 pound fish caught at Bull Point this weekend with an Atlantic menhaden.  Many anglers are fishing near the windmills in Providence and doing well with pogies.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “We had active worm hatches in the ponds this week with school bass and keepers mixed in being caught. Most fish (even the fluke) are covered with lice (indicating they are migrating from the ocean)." Angler Ken Blanchard said on the RISAA blog that this weekend, “We hired Captain Jack Sprengel and his three Captain team for our gun club tournament. We had three fishermen per boat and we left the dock at 6:00 A.M. and returned at 12:00 noon. We all limited out (1 each) and it was catch and release all day. We caught fish from the teens all the way up to the high hook of the day 30.20 pounds and 43 inches.”

Summer flounder (fluke)

fishing got stronger this week with large fish to ten pounds being taken both off the south side of Block Island and at the Sakonnet River. Angler Dick Pastore landed a 27.5 inch, a ten pound fish at Elbow Ledge working a Deadly Dick.  Angler Mike Warner said, “I fished on a charter trip with a RI Saltwater Angers Association trip on Booked Off charters.  We caught fifteen nice fluke drifting three-way teasers wit bank sinkers at the Sakonnet River.  However, earlier this week Elis Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The fluke bite slowed on the south side of the Island this week but they were catching them in 40 to 50 feet of water.”

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years.  He 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 and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. . Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.

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