DEM looking “Lean”
Hat’s off to Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and her staff. She instituted a “Lean” initiative in her department and we are starting to see the benefits with proposals and programs that are streamlining the way her department does business. The Marine Fisheries Division’s Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) was selected for one of the first five department “Lean” initiatives. The RIMFC examines the status of fish stocks, gathers input from fishermen and industry leaders, proposes species management plans and makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations to DEM’s director.
The aim of the “Lean” initiative is to examine the way a process works, step by step, and then with user and employee input, look for ways to improve and enhance the process becoming more effective and/or cost efficient. Mark Gibson, deputy chief of Marine Fisheries said, “We wanted to select a process that was difficult and try to improve it.” The RIMFC and its various species advisory panels, along with general public hearings were reviewed and studied by DEM staff members and “Lean” consultants.
The end result was a proposal put before the RIMFC last week to explore a new way for obtaining industry and public input on proposed fishing regulations. The initiative would combine what would occur on two or three different evening advisory panel meetings into one workshop, cover multiple species on one night and then immediately follow it with a public comment hearing. Jason McNamee, marine biologist for the Marine Fisheries Division, said, “We hope to enhance attendance by having fishermen and industry participants attend one meeting rather than two or three. The proposed format would provide participants with more timely information just before the general hearing with an extended comment period running beyond the public hearing.” So the net result would be a better decision making process that enhances participation and reduces the time industry participants and DEM staff spends on meetings (allowing DEM staffers more time to address other important fisheries management issues and give fishermen more time to fish).
The proposal was well received by Council members and the plan is to examine a fleshed-out trial meeting proposal at their next meeting, the first week of September. This initiative has the potential of enhancing participation and saving fishermen, industry leaders and government (DEM) hundreds hours of time throughout the course of a single year.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing remains strong. Liam Teixeira of Bristol landed a 40-plus inch striped bass when fishing Block Island on his friends’ boat Midnight captained by Ed Mack. He was using eels at night. Frank Merro of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said “Customers are catching big bass at Block Island using eels.” Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters said, “The fish at Block Island are very large this year but they can be finicky. Either you catch your limit in 20 minutes or they are difficult to find.” However, the southwest side of Block Island is the place to catch bass, and it is no secret. Angler John Stavrakas said, “We counted 150 boats out on the SW ledge yesterday (Sunday).”
Shore fishing. Mary Dangelo of Maridee Bait & Canvas, Narragansett said, “Anglers are catching keeper bass at the mouth of Narrow River early mornings with anglers landing bass at Stinky Beach in Narragansett as well.” Fishing on the East Wall of the Harbor of Refuge and at Pier 5 in Narragansett has been good for scup and bluefish,” said Dangelo. The scup bite is still strong with large scup to 19” being caught in bays and off the coastal shore. Angler Steve Burstein of West Warwick easily caught his dinner fishing bay and ocean waters from shore a couple of times last week. Scup fishing has been good around the Newport and Jamestown Bridges, Colt State Park, Fort Wetherill, Jamestown and off just about any pier or dock. Squid is the bait of choice, the trick is to use small scup or porgy hooks and small pieces of bait. The scup limit is 30 fish/angler/day with a 10” minimum size. However, 9” scup can be taken in special provisional shore areas. Visit dem.ri.gov for a listing of these areas and all fresh and saltwater fishing regulations.
Summer flounder (fluke). Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet said “Four of the seven (full day) trips sailed this past week had pool fish between 9 and 10 lbs with pool fish the other days in the 7 to 8 lb range.” Last week Chris Gasbarro and his work associate Jason landed 29 pounds of fluke off Newport aboard No Fluke Fishing Charters. Their largest fish was 26”. Frank Merro of Lucky Bait said “anglers are landing fluke from Conimicut Light to the Sakonnet and under the bridges. Some of the best Bay fluke fishing has been at Warwick Light.”
Offshore fishing has been good. Capt. Andy Dangelo of Maridee Charters had a shark fishing charter last week. “They tagged fifteen blue sharks and kept one 200 pound mako then went on to catch mahi mahi. They also limited out on striped bass and catch keeper fluke too,” said Mary from Maridee Bait & Canvas.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke website at noflukefishing.com or e-mail him with your fishing news and photos at [email protected].