Anglers say wind farm has benefited fishing
“Anglers who fish the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) say it has been beneficial for fishing,” said a study published in Marine Policy, an international journal of ocean affairs.
“Interview findings revealed anglers’ enjoyment of the offshore wind farm as an enhanced fishing location, due to catch and non-related aspects of the experience…Respondents also value the wind farm as symbolic of progress towards green energy,” said study authors Tiffany Smythe of the United States Coast Guard Academy, David Bidwell and Grant Tyler of the University of Rhode Island.
An advanced online copy of the May, 2021 issue of Marine Policy can be found at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0308597X.
The study titled “Optimistic with reservations: The impacts of the United States’ first offshore wind farm on the recreational fishing experience” said, “Anglers reported concerns about increased crowding around the offshore wind farm and raised concerns about potential fishing access restrictions around this and future projects.”
In public hearings surrounding northeast offshore wind farms the United States Coast Guard has repeatedly said they will not restrict fishing around or in wind farms. And, developers have said, they do not have the jurisdiction (or desire) to restrict fishing in and around their wind farms. I am not aware of any fishing restrictions that have occurred at the Block Island Wind Farm since it became operational in December, 2016 except during limited maintenance periods to ensure work crew and boater safety.
Anglers are encouraged to provide state regulators and wind farm developers in their area with negative or positive input on offshore wind developments. For a list of offshore wind farms active off Rhode Island and Massachusetts visit the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) website at www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities.
Slow down for right whales
There is a 10-knot small vessel (less than 65’ overall) speed limit in Cape Cod Bay to protect endangered right whales from the threat of ship strikes. During the late-winter and early-spring, right whales migrate into and aggregate in Cape Cod Bay where they feed on zooplankton.
On March 21, an aerial survey of the Bay sighted 89 right whales, including 3 mother calf pairs. As we move into the spring, these whales begin to feed closer to the surface and become more susceptible to ship strikes. Ship strikes are a significant source of mortality to these endangered whales. However, the lethality of ship strikes is greatly reduced when vessels are operating at less than 10-knots speed.
For more information regarding the management of protected marine species in Massachusetts, please visit our website (www.mass.gov/marinefisheries) or call DMF at 617/626-1520.
More stocked ponds in Rhode Island as trout season opened April 7
The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced that Rhode Island trout stocked lakes, ponds, rivers and streams opened for fishing on Wednesday, April 7. The trout season in Massachusetts has been open.
For a list of trout stocked ponds in Massachusetts visit www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-trout-stocked-waters-list and in Rhode Island for a complete list of stocked waters and links to regulations and licenses visit www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries/troutwaters.php.
Late last week DEM announced that as a result of improved water level and access conditions, three additional fishing areas were stocked for the opening of trout season. They included Lake Tiogue, Coventry; Spring Grove Pond, Glocester; and Wallum Lake, Burrillville.
DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife is stocking over 60,000 hatchery-raised rainbow, brook, golden rainbow and brown trout in more than 100 waterways across the state. In addition, 4,000 Sebago salmon will be stocked statewide.
Where’s the bite?
Freshwater trout season opened Wednesday, April 7, see above links to Rhode Island and Massachusetts stocked ponds. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “When anglers are getting out (cold weather detriment for some) they are catching largemouth in the two pound range. Not a lot of large fish being taken. One customer was doing well fishing Bad Luck Pond, Rehoboth where he caught a couple of three pound fish.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “Customers are doing well with pickerel and pike and Sand Pond and Little Pond in Warwick. They are taking pike on shiners and largemouth working slow moving spinners and jigs.”
Tautog fishing opened April 1 with a 16” minimum size in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There is a three fish/person/day limit from April 1 to May 31. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Customers are starting to target tautog, not a lot of anglers actually fishing but an awful lot of them are getting ready as the weather warms up.”
Dave Monti 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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.