Council delays black sea bass season
The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC), which makes recreational and commercial fishing regulation recommendations to Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit, held their second meeting in ten days last week.
Highlights of their March 5 meeting included the elimination of the spring black sea bass (BSB) season due in part to a mandatory reduction in Recreational Harvest Limits (RHL) from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Last year the season started May 25 allowing shore anglers and Narragansett Bay fishermen to take advantage of this species when the water is cool and the fish are in the bay.
This year the Council opted to extend the fall and winter season to accommodate charter and party boats and private anglers that do not fish in early spring but rather target BSB in early fall or catch them when tautog fishing. The recommendation going to Director Coit starts the season with a three fish limit and then increases to five fish and runs to the end of the year.
Another notable recommendation is an increase in the summer flounder bag limit from four fish to six fish/person/day. Coit is expected to set final recreational fishing regulations by the end of March.
Highlights of the March 14 meeting last week included the review of an aquaculture lease in Segar Cove off Potter Pond, South Kingstown (a lease application made by Perry Raso, owner of the Matunuck Oyster Bar). The Council’s domain is to advise the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) as to whether or not aquaculture lease areas are or are not in conflict with recreational or commercial wild harvest of shell fish or fin fish.
The Council vote was three to three on the issue. Robert Ballou, chair of the RIMFC (and special assistant to DEM Director Coit) said, “The Council plans to send a letter to CRMC relating the vote and highlighting council comments on both sides of the issue.”
Boating safety course a must in RI
In Rhode Island, successful completion of a boating safety course is required for all boaters born after January 1, 1986 who operate a boat with a motor greater than ten horsepower; and for all operators, regardless of age, of personal watercraft.
This week DEM is teaming up with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) as part of the Spring Aboard campaign to encourage boaters to enroll in a boating education course. An informed and knowledgeable boat operator is much more likely to recognize hazardous conditions on the water and avoid a boating mishap.
Lieutenant Steven Criscione, boating safety coordinator for DEM's Division of Law Enforcement said, “All boaters have a duty to be responsible for themselves and for those on their vessel. This spring, while you’re getting your boat readied for the water, prepare yourself for a safe boating season by taking a boater education course. With the wide variety of classroom and online offerings, there’s a program to fit every boater’s schedule.”
Classroom courses are offered through local boating safety organizations, such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons. In addition, DEM offers an online study course for those boaters who would like the convenience of studying at home. Boaters using this online option must pass a proctored exam to receive certification. For a list of boating education courses, visit www.dem.ri.gov.
Captain Dave 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 www.noflukefishing.com.