No Fluke

NOAA initiatives improving fisheries at home and internationally

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This month NOAA Fisheries announced two climate change initiatives that have direct impact on fish and habitat for anglers and released a report on international fisheries.

On Aug. 12, NOAA Fisheries released its 2021 Biennial Report to Congress on Improving International Fisheries Management. The report identified thirty-one nations and entities with vessels engaged in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing activities; and/or for lack of a regulatory program to address fishing practices that result in the bycatch of protected living marine resources.
Identifying countries that are engaged in unreported or unregulated fishing activities allows US policy makers to take this information into consideration when negotiating agreements and treaties with them. With climate change impacting fishing globally it is more important than ever before for nations to regulate their fisheries to sustain our international fishery resources.

Nations and entities identified for having vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities during 2018–2020 include China, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Russian Federation, Senegal and Taiwan. Twenty-nine nations do not have a regulatory program comparable in effectiveness to the United States to reduce the bycatch of protected marine life in their fishing operations. The report can be found at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/noaa-issues-2021-report-global-iuu-fishing-and-bycatch-protected-marine-life-resources.

Ocean bottom and ‘What If?’ scenarios helping with climate change

Who would have thought that the mud you bring up on your anchor (ocean bottom sediment) could have a big impact on helping us stem the tide on climate change impacts? Ocean sediments absorb and store carbon that is in our atmosphere.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries released Part 1 of two part Conservation Science Series: Blue Carbon in Marine Protected Areas. Visit https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/ for a copy of the report that describes how blue (ocean) carbon ecosystems mitigate climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transporting it into sediments or deep waters, where it can remain indefinitely if undisturbed.

Accounting for these processes, and how they can help to achieve global carbon mitigation and emission reduction goals, is an emerging area of focus for marine protected area management.

This review is Part 1 of a series to inform and guide Marine Protected Area (MPA) managers in the assessment, protection, and management of blue carbon habitats and processes. Part 2 of this series, scheduled for release in September, will focus on a case study for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

‘What If?’ scenario planning is the real deal

The second initiative involves garnering fisher input on climate impacts as part of a project called East Coast Climate Change Scenario Planning.

On the East Coast of the United States, some species of fish are already experiencing climate-related shifts in distribution, abundance, and productivity. Although the future is uncertain, a continuation or acceleration of climate change has the potential to strain our existing fisheries management system and alter the way fishermen, scientists, and the public interact with the marine environment. Scenario planning is a way of exploring how fishery management may need to evolve over the next few decades in response to climate change.
The initiative is being organized by representatives from the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and NOAA Fisheries. East Coast Climate Change Scenario Planning Kick-Off Webinars have been planned for Wednesday, Sept. 1, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; and Thursday, Sept. 2, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

You can register for either webinar (both are the same, only need to attend one) through the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council — Calendar at www.mafmc.org.
The webinars will introduce stakeholders to the overall initiative, explain the benefits of participating in the process, outline additional ways to become involved, and begin collecting stakeholder input.

An online questionnaire will be available soon to serve as an additional tool to collect input; visit the Scenario Planning webpage at www.mafmc.org/climate-change-scenario-planning for information and updates.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “The bluefish and striped bass bite from the shore off Pt. Judith was good before the storm. On Saturday two of our associates fished there and caught slot fish (28” to less than 35”) using soft plastic lures. So fishing before the storm was pretty good.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The bluefish skipjack bite has been very good in coves and harbors with customers having no trouble catching their three fish limit.” Large bluefish continue to be caught off Block Island with fish as large as 12 to 13 pounds. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “The bass bite at Block Island is strong at night with eels and good during the day with anglers trolling tube & worm on the Southwest Ledge.” East End Eddie Doherty said “Cape Cod Canal fishing has slowed down again after one of the best weeks of the season, producing many striped bass in the 20 & 30 pound class.”
Summer flounder, Black Sea bass and scup. “Customer Albert Bettencourt of Riverside fished for fluke last Saturday at Conimicut Point drifting from East Providence to Warwick and then toward Providence. They had difficulty catching keeper fluke in the mid and lower bay but caught seventeen fluke on the sandbar. Six of the fish were keepers and were brought up in just six and seven feet of water,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. We fished off Pt. Judith last week and one angler caught four keeper fluke and eight keeper size black sea bass. The fish were caught off the center wall of the Harbor of Refuge and East of the Hooter Buoy. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “The fluke bite is off but we have a strong scup and black sea bass bite in the bay and offshore.”

Bluefin tuna, Atlantic bonito and false albacore. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “We had some nice fish caught last week. Artie Coia landed a 67” bluefin tuna. Not bad for someone who has not previously targeted them. The bite overall last week was good for some and not good for others depending on the day and conditions. The hope is that the storm will push warmer water to shore and bring the hardtails (Atlantic bonito, false albacore, bluefin, and skipjack tuna) even closer to shore.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “Anglers have landed albies off the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge.”
Freshwater fishing has been consistently good for anglers targeting largemouth bass. Minnows are being used with success with anglers letting them do most of the work to attract fish,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

Dave Monti

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