Vineyard Wind steps up for the whales
At press time wind farm developer Vineyard Wind was still waiting to hear back on a $30-million mitigation offer they made to fishermen and the state of Rhode Island. In the meantime Vineyard Wind has signed an agreement to protect North Atlantic right whales with conservation groups.
Vineyard Wind and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, and Conservation Law Foundation entered into a January 23 agreement to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Under the agreement, Vineyard Wind will institute a variety of protective measures to keep right whales safe while installing and operating turbines at its proposed 84-turbine project off the coast of Massachusetts. Harnessing offshore wind is a key step in transitioning the nation away from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.
Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation said, “Scaling up offshore wind in wildlife-friendly ways is essential to confronting the climate crisis… By ensuring that offshore wind power is responsibly built and operated, this model agreement is a win-win for conserving wildlife and creating well-paying jobs. We are proud to work with Vineyard Wind and our conservation partners to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales as this critically needed new clean energy industry takes off in the United States.”
As this agreement was made meetings by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council to consider the developer’s mitigation offer were postponed. Fishermen were silent about the offer with many speculating that it was not enough as the State of Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management said that fishermen stand to lose $30 to $35-million from fishing that could occur in the windfarm area over the next 25 years.
Vineyard Wind countered and said the state’s estimate was high as it assumed no fishing would occur in the windfarm area which will not be the case. Fishermen have asked that turbines be spread one mile apart so they can fish in the wind farm.
Additionally, fishermen off Block Island trawl right alongside turbines, in fact gill netters set their nets up close to the turbines as they like the odds of catching more fish up close to turbines which act as structure and habitat for fish. The Massachusetts project offered Rhode Island fishermen who fish there $6.2 million in mitigation settlements to fishermen and $23-million in mitigation to establish a research fund to explore ways commercial fishing and ocean wind farms could coexist and flourish together. The research fund would be administered by the State of Rhode Island through the Coastal Resource Management Council.
RISAA honors Steve Medeiros
Steve Medeiros, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), received an achievement award Saturday, January 26 at the association’s annual banquet.
Rich Hittinger, 1st vice president of RISAA, said, “We recognize Steve for his never ending commitment to fishermen, fish, youth and the sport of fishing. His leadership for 21 years has built and developed RISAA into the largest fishing association of its type in the northeast with 30 affiliated fishing clubs and over 7,500 affiliated members. Through his leadership the Associate has engaged on highly successful programs such as Take-a-Kid fishing Day, a fishing camp for youth, and the New England Saltwater Fishing Show held annually at the Rhode Island Convention Center.”
Other awards Saturday night went to Travis Barao of East Providence who received the first annual George Allen Member of the Year Award; Michael Tilelli of Wakefield who received the Angler of the Year Award for the second year in a row; and Nathaniel Pakuris (eleven years old), who received the Junior Angler of the Year Award. Numerous other award were given to members for their participation in year-round fishing tournaments.
Jenkins to chair American Saltwater Guides Association
Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge outfitters in Middletown, was elected board chairman of the American Saltwater Guides Association Saturday, January 26 at the group’s first board meeting in Edison, NJ.
The new association aims to promote sustainable businesses through marine conservation.
Jenkins said, “It is an honor to be elected to head a group that has a long term view towards conservation. Growing fish to abundance for the long term so there are fish in the water for our children and grandchildren in key rather than taking as many fish as we can for the short term.”
The organization founding members are Capt. John McMurray of New York and Tony Friedrich of Virginia who were elected president and vice president. I was asked to serve on the board representing Rhode Island and was elected chair of the Association Audit Committee. Capt. Jamie Boyle or Martha’s Vineyard was elected to represent the state of Massachusetts.
The association board is comprised of a representative from each northeast state. Capt. McMurray said, “We are a coalition of professional fishing guides and charter boat captains plus ‘associate members’ fishing clubs, tackle shops, tackle manufacturers and forward thinking conservation minded anglers who seek representation at the federal and state level on issues affecting businesses which depend on healthy marine ecosystems and abundant marine resources.”
For information visit www.americansaltwaterguidesassociaotn.org or contact John McMurray at 781/791-2094 or Tony Friedrich at 202/744-5013.
ASMFC Winter Meeting February 5-7
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Winter Meeting will be held February 5-7 at The Westin Crystal City, Arlington, VA. The ASMFC mangers many of the migratory species we fish in the Northeast. Meeting materials are available on the Commission website at http://www.asmfc.org/home/2019-wintermeeting.
Key issue of concern for recreational fishermen in Massachusetts and Rhode Island on the agenda include a meeting of the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass management board and decision on black sea bass quotas and recreational harvest limits for the season as well as a review of the preliminary ASMFC striped bass stock assessment with the Commission considering the comments it will make to NOAA Fisheries regarding proposed measures to Lift the Ban on Recreational Fishing in the Federal Block Island Sound Transit Zone.
Board meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 2:15 p.m.) on Thursday, Feb. 7. The webinar will allow registrants to listen to board deliberations and view presentations and motions as they occur. No comments or questions will be accepted via the webinar. To register for the webinar go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4091497567943208451.
Where’s the bite?
Cod fishing. Party boats (inspected vessels that take more than six anglers, often 50 to 75 anglers) out of Rhode Island fishing for cod this winter include: the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com and Island Current III at www.islandcurrent.com. Rates per angler for cod fishing are about $100.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com or email him with your fishing news and photos at email@example.com.