NOAA Fisheries' Maine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) now has a website that answers angler questions about producing recreational fishing catch and effort estimates which are used in part to develop recreational fishing harvest limits. An
NOAA Fisheries’ Maine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) now has a website that answers angler questions about producing recreational fishing catch and effort estimates which are used in part to develop recreational fishing harvest limits.
An article titled “Ask MRIP: Answering your questions about estimating recreational catch” can be found at fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/ask-mrip-answering-your-questions-about-estimating-recreational-catch.
Questions covered in the article, which is loaded with data links, include: Why do we ‘estimate’ recreational catch? How does sampling work? How are estimates of recreational catch produced? And, how does NOAA Fisheries ensure its estimates are high-quality?
If you have any questions on recreational estimates, email NOAA Fisheries at NMFS.MRIP@noaa.gov.
Federal fishing law needs to be more climate nimble
In the past I have written about climate change scenario planning and how it is a useful planning tool. It is a process that helps fisheries mitigate and address climate impacts on habitat, fish, ocean mammals and fishing communities. NOAA ran three workshops in the fishing community to explain the process.
I shared how I thought the plight of North Atlantic Right Whales would benefit from scenario planning. My mistake, there was a North American Right Whale scenario planning session held by NOAA with a report issued on March 22, 2021. For the summary report, visit fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/north-atlantic-right-whale-eubalaena-glacialis-scenario-planning-summary-report.
NOAA’s scenario planning for right whales was a good move, however, fish managers are not moving fast enough to address climate impacts. The scenario planning session was held in 2018, with a report on the session issued in March, 2021. So, although some actions were taken early, it took three years to implement the new September 2021 federal regulations designed to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in lobster gear.
We all have to do better, including NOAA, its regional councils, state regulators, the fishing community and fishing writers like me to bring forward how climate change is impacting our fish and habitat. We need too adapt or reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), our national fishing law, to allow us to be more nimble in response to climate impacts as climate change impacts are exponential and are not waiting for us.
A new bill reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Edward Chase (D-HI). Visit huffman.house.gov for bill highlights and a copy of the actual bill. The bill has climate change provisions that would provide NOAA with the funding to do additional research, stock assessments to try to stay ahead of climate change impacts and gives them the authority to act more quickly.
Where’s the bite?
Tautog: Tautog fishing is very good off Newport and Pt. Judith. Fished Saturday with Dave and Brian Hanuschak and they caught tautog to 20” off Newport. The bite picked up an 1.5 hours before high tide. Brian said, “The tautog bite was outstanding, more fish than we ever caught, with a lot of short fish in the mix.” Mark Jacobs of the Lady J shared on the RI Saltwater Anglers blog, “Arrived off Pt. Judith (Saturday) just before nine and anchored only once in 35 ft. of water. Pretty steady action on hi-lo rigged crabs with 3:1 short to keeper ratio. Reached our boat limit of 9 fish with 3 over 20 inches. Pretty special fishing a mile from the marina. Looking forward to my first fresh tog meal of the year.” Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “The tautog bite is good with customers having no trouble caching their three fish limit in about 35 feet of water on the rocks.” Angler Greg Spier said, “Fished outgoing tide Monday afternoon in 22 feet of water on structure at end of the Sakonnet River. Limited out with six tautog and one large sea bass in two hours. Largest tautog was 5.10 pounds. Water still warm at 71 degrees.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “The tautog bite at Rocky Point has been very good with customers fishing from shore getting some nice keepers (16” minimum size, 3 fish/person/day). Brenton Reef off Newport is producing for customers too. With cooler weather things will improve as the Bay water is still in the seventies.”
Striped bass, blue fish, false albacore: The bluefish bite with some striped bass was on this weekend in the West passage of Narragansett Bay just north of Hope Island, Pine Hill and along the western shore near Quidnessett Country Club, North Kingstown. Angler Fred DeFinis of Middletown said, “Was fishing last week at Elbow Ledge and massive schools of very large blues – all over two feet and many over 30 inches. Sleek, fat and strong. They would crash the surface but you could also blind cast or troll them up with small lures. Didn’t have to wait long for a hook-up – 30-40 seconds trolling did the trick.”
Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, said, “We have a lot of bait at outflows like Buckey Brook at the base of Conimicut Point. A customer was hooking up with striped bass there to almost keeper size (28” but less than 35”). Large bluefish are also being caught throughout the upper and mid Bay area both in the West and East Passages.” Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, said, “Fishing for blues and striped bass from the shore has not been good this week, however, anglers are catching fish at Block Island. The cod are biting too at Shark’s Ledge.” Brian Moore said on the RI Saltwater Anglers blog that the false albacore were active Monday. “Albies back strong. Atlantic menhaden so thick you could walk on them. Most interesting was from Jamestown Bridge south to lighthouse full of pods of dolphins.”
Freshwater: The freshwater largemouth bass exploded this week as fish started to move up in the water column. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “As things cool a bit anglers are using top water lures to catch largemouth bass as some are up in the water column. Places like Sand Pond and Gorton Pond are producing for customers. Some pickerel and pike being caught too.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit noflukefishing.com.
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