No Fluke

Fishing with windmills; Pabst tournament set for summer

Last week, the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island hosted three fishermen from the United Kingdom. Merlin Jackson, John Nichols, and Colin Warwick spoke with several local fishermen about their experiences fishing with operating wind farms off their coast near Ramsgate, England.

The fishermen spoke about mitigation, safety issues, and best practices for fisheries liaison officers, and recommended that Rhode Island’s fishermen stay involved in what will be a long process. The meeting was organized by Capt. Rick Bellavance, a wind farm liaison for fishermen, who is a member of the Commercial Fisheries Center and president of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association. Capt. Bellavance said, “These fishermen have actually experienced fishing in the area of wind farms so it was great to hear their point of view. Last year I visited the United Kingdom to see how fishermen there were coping with windmills…it was great to have them come the the U.S., so our fishermen could hear about their experiences firsthand.”

Pabst Blue Ribbon Tournament

Pabst Blue Ribbon announced their Northeast striped bass, fluke and bluefish tournament, which will take place June 1 to September 14 with $50,000 in prizes. New for 2014 is an expanded tournament into Massachusetts. Weigh stations will be located along the Massachusetts coast, in addition to last year’s locations in Rhode Island, Long Island and Connecticut.  Visit www.pbrfishing.com for entry details, rules and regulations.

ASMFC decision could have negative impact on summer flounder

Delegations from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia opposed the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board’s move to approve Addendum XXV, establishing regional recreational management for 2014. Regardless, the plan for regionalization was approved.

Last month, Rhode Island delegates to the ASMFC heard strong opposition for regionalization from the recreational fishing community.  At a public hearing, anglers testified that the plan would allocate more fish to states like New York that have consistently overfished their quota. Anglers fear that with more fish and relaxed summer flounder fishing regulations for New York that they (and other states) would greatly overfish in 2014, causing major problems for summer flounder, a fish stock on the decline.

Robert Ballou, Rhode Island ASMFC delegate and chairman of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, said at a recent Council meeting, “The Rhode Island delegation opposed regionalization along with Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts but lost the vote four to seven.” Ballou said that DEM staffers were meeting this week and next to align Massachusetts and Rhode Island regulations and run plans by the ASMFC Technical Committee. The RIMFC summer flounder advisory panel chaired by Rich Hittinger was planning a meeting for next week to address recreational summer flounder issues, specifically the impact of ASMFC regionalization mandates on Rhode Island recreational summer flounder regulations. At press time a date and time had not been posited for the advisory panel meeting.

Where’s the bite

Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet reported a good cod bite last week with some anglers limiting out (ten fish/angler/day) and cod up to 32 pounds being caught. “The top fish every trip was in the twenty plus pound range. On Saturday about half of the fish on the boat were in the 12 to 18 pound range… Both bait and jigs worked this past week but fresh shucked clams were probably the best on most trips. A handful or two of small keeper pollock and some red hake mixed in from time to time but generally speaking it has been mostly cod. The Frances Fleet will continue to sail daily at 5 a.m., weather permitting. Visit www.francesfleet.com for more information. Other party boats sailing for cod include the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.

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. Monti at dmontifish@verizon.net.

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