There is a new fishing cooperative in Rhode Island, and it’s the first of its type in the nation. It’s “Rhode Island Fish for the Future” and it’s a charter captains’ summer founder (fluke) cooperative which is voluntarily testing an innovative fishing approach to improve accountability and conservation of the summer flounder population while increasing business flexibility and stability for the Rhode Island charter boat industry. I am a founding member.
The cooperative is testing innovative new software that records catch in real time. Each of the captains in the program has a computer tablet on board loaded with software (called Fish Net) which allows them to record species and size of each fish caught. All of this is recorded in real time in the location that they catch/record the fish through GPS. It is hoped that software like this will provide a rich data source for fish mangers in the future, as charter boats and recreational fishers are presently not required to report their catch the way that commercial fishermen do.
The mission of this pilot project is twofold: reducing discards as well as increasing flexibility and predictability, allowing charter captains to better serve customers. Captains have been able to improve customer experience by allowing them to take more fish and smaller sizes than normally allowed. This sounds great—more fish for customers, smaller sizes allowed—but there is a catch.
Captains participating in the program agree to follow a rigid set of rules, such as counting all fish caught toward their quota or allowable catch for the season—including the ones too small to keep. Their cumulative total allowable catch is smaller than they would be able to take under normal recreational fishing regulations, however, the program gives them the flexibility to catch the fish and use their allowance with customers when it is best from a business perspective.
For information about Rhode Island Fish for the Future visit www.rifishforthefutue.org.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing has been fair this past week at Block Island and in the Bay. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marine, South Kingstown said, “The Bass bite at Block Island has been with eels at night and customers are catching them during the day trolling umbrella rigs.” Ken Landry of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Some nice bass were caught at the Newport Bridge this week with Atlantic Menhaden which have been plentiful in that area and around Gould Island. Some customers have been doing well with bass in the Breton Reef, Newport area.”
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing has been spotty with warm water in Narragansett Bay and rough water off shore. I fished in the Beavertail, Jamestown area with Jon Hare and his son John and friend Elliott this Saturday and landed about a dozen fish, including six nice keeper fluke, but they were hard to come by.
Black sea bass fishing has been okay, with anglers catching them while fluke fishing. Some nice sized black sea bass were taken off the wall at the Harbor of Refuge and off Narragansett Beach.
Scup fishing continues to be strong all over Narragansett Bay, off coastal shores and in the Newport and Jamestown bridge areas.
Offshore fishing was been pretty good last week at the Dump with bluefin tuna, mahi-mahi, and yellowfin being taken by a number of customers, according to Matt Conti of Snug Harbor.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license, a charter fishing license, and is a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association board. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke Charters website at www.noflukefishing.com, his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com or e-mail him fishing news and photos at email@example.com.