I like family fishing traditions
The Tellier family of North Kingstown has a fine family fishing tradition. I first met Roger Tellier (formerly of East Providence) about six years ago through the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) where he serves on their board of directors. I have fished with Roger and his sons. But the focus of this family tradition is Roger’s grandson, Noah Tellier who is a first year college student.
Last spring, as a high school senior at North Kingstown, Noah took on a conservation and fishing community project… he designed, built and helped install fishing line collectors that were placed in three South County towns. Noah’s father, Russ Tellier said, “Noah cultivated donations from Home Depot, Supply New England Plumbing and RISAA and built four fishing line collectors.”
Loose fishing line can be harmful to wildlife especially seagulls and ducks that frequent saltwater coves, marshes and boat ramps. They often get tangled in used fishing line that is left behind by anglers. The line collectors go a long way to education fishermen about the hazards of loose line and serve as a collection point for spent line.
Noah completed the community service project upon graduation from high school but had one line collector left that he donated to RISAA. Last week his grandfather, Roger Tellier, took the project to completion as RISAA adopted the new Goddard State Park Boat Ramp in Warwick and donated the last line collector that Norah built.
Thank you for providing the fishing community with the line collectors, Noah. You are part of a fine family fishing and conservation tradition.
Atlantic menhaden Board to determine ecological reference points and catch limits
The Atlantic menhaden Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is scheduled to meet Nov. 13 and 14 to determine the fate of Amendment 3 which proposes changes to the fishery’s management plan (FMP).
Last week the Atlantic menhaden Advisory Panel (AP) to the Board met to review public comment on key amendment issues. Representatives from user groups are on the AP including conservation groups as well as recreational and commercial bait and processing representatives.
Key issues discussed at the AP meeting on Oct. 26 in Philadelphia included the establishment of ecological reference points (ERPs) for the species. ERPs aim to leave enough fish in the water not only for sustainable growth of the species, but also for ecological reasons such as enough fish as forage that are eaten by striped bass, bluefish, tuna, osprey and other species as well as for environmental reasons i.e. Atlantic menhaden are filter feeders and many say contribute greatly to cleaning water in our ocean, bays and coves.
The advisory panel took no vote on ERPs as it was clear that those engaged in the commercial fisheries were advocating for no ERPs until the Board receives a research report that establishes specie specific ERPs. This input will likely not be available for policy making consideration until 2020. Recreation and conservation representatives on the AP were advocating for an interim “rule of thumb” ERP of 75 percent. Meaning that 75 percent of the Atlantic menhaden would be left in the water for ecological reasons, and all fisheries would divide the remaining 25 percent.
For the first time, the panel reviewed stock projections for the interim reference point options listed in Draft Amendment 3. The 75 percent EPR (recommended in options D and E) would allocated a 147,000 metric tons total allowable catch (TAC) limit, whereas the current TAC is 200,000 metric tons. Options A and B in the amendment would set the TAC at 314,500 metric tons.
The processing industry voiced their objection to a reduced TAC as under the present single species management TAC the Atlantic menhaden are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Industry was actually vying for a TAC increase from 200,000 metric tons to somewhere between 220,000 and 240,000 metric tons. The Omega Protein (fish processor that harvests about 85 percent of the TAC) representative on the panel, Perter Himchak said, “We support a 240,000 pound catch limit, however, at the very least we want to be left whole with the new TAC, making it back to at least 212,500 metric tons before TAC reductions were made.”
David Sikorski, executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association, Maryland, said, “We believe ERPs need to be established now in Amendment 3 at the 75 percent level, however, we do not need to work toward the number of 147,000 metric tons, but rather a phased in ERP that gets us to 75 percent. We all expect that 75 percent number to grow in the next two to three years as the biomass of this species continues to grow. However, if we take too many fish out of the water next year, we are concerned it will deter the rebuilding gains that have occurred with this species in recent years. No one wants to go backwards.”
Three votes were taken by the AP concerning allowable catch limits which were all defeated including a 200,000, a 220,000 and a 240,000 TAC.
The AP not reaching a consensus on ERPs and a 2018 TAC sets the table for a controversial Atlantic menhaden Board meeting on Nov. 13 and 14.
The ASMFC Atlantic Board chairman is Robert Ballou of the RI Department of Environmental Management. The chair of the technical committee is Jason McNamee, chief of Marine Resources Management for RI DEM.
Where’s the bite?
Tautog. John Littlefield of Archie’s bait and tackle said, “The keeper to short ratio was much improved last week with some very large fish being taken in the Westport area. We weighed in a 12 pound tautog caught in the Westport area by angler Dan Howell. Anglers are catching keepers at Colt State Park and Conimicut Light but the Ohio Ledge bite was not good.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Much better action on the local blackfish grounds. Many anglers went home with limits of fine white chinners to a solid nine pounds. With the colder nights were having, it seems that the fish are pushing out of the shallow bay water and out to the deep rock piles and wrecks.” “The bite was good in Providence from shore and in the mid-bay area around Hog Island,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle. I fished off Beavertail this weekend and the bite was not good. We did find keeper tautog inside the bay off Newport.
Striped bass, bluefish, false albacore. Striped bass fishing improved dramatically in the bay with keepers in the 12 pound range now being caught by anglers from shore and boat. John Littlefield said, “Keeper bass were caught at Sabin Point but not many bluefish. There were seals feeding at Sabin Point for a good part of the week. The false albacore continue to make an appearance in the upper bay but anglers are having difficult hooking up with them.”
“Scup fishing is still good. Fish are being caught in the upper bay with a good bite at Colt State Park and off Warren River bridges,” said Littlefield.
Cod. Blount said, “Cod fishing is steady with some quality fish and loads of sea bass and scup. Sea bass to over five pounds were caught. The scup on some of the rock piles are 20-30 feet thick with fish over three pound. Pool fish has been between 20-25 pounds.”
Freshwater fishing was good this week as the water is still fairly warm. “Customers are experiencing a good largemouth bass bite using jerkbaits with a slow retrieve. And there are plenty of trout in waterways that were stocked like Lincoln Woods. Power Baits are working well for anglers and there are plenty of Golden Trout left too.”
Capt. Monti has been fishing and shellfishing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at noflukefishing.com.