NOAA Fisheries has released a comprehensive population viability analysis for North Atlantic right whales, along with 2023 population estimate. The analysis allows users to project how the total population’s extinction trajectory could change under various “what-if” scenarios.
Results show that both vessel strikes and entanglement of these whales need to be considerably reduced for the species to continue to exist.
NOAA and longstanding whale conservation groups concur that reducing entanglement and vessel strikes are paramount to preserve the species, and offshore wind surveys and development are not contributing to mortality, as suggested by some. There is no known link between recent large whale mortalities and ongoing offshore wind development and surveys.Visit: “Frequent Questions — Offshore Wind and Whales | NOAA Fisheries.”
The annual population estimate shows that approximately 360 animals were alive at the beginning of 2022. This is fewer than the numbers alive at the beginning of 2021, but the sharp downward trajectory of this species observed between 2015 and 2019 may be slowing.
For an article with details, visit Reducing Entanglements and Vessel Strikes Makes Extinction Less Likely for North Atlantic Right Whales | NOAA Fisheries.
Kidney needed for tackle shop owner
Long time recreational fishing tackle shop owner Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence has polycystic kidney disease and is in need of a kidney. Possible donors do not have to be a match, but he does need one donated to offset the kidney he may get in return. For information, call 781-960-1201 or contact the Living Donor Transplant | Massachusetts General Hospital (massgeneral.org).
Gulf of Maine wind farm areas proposed
Last week the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a Draft Wind Energy Area (Draft WEA) in the Gulf of Maine and an accompanying a 30-day public comment period. The Draft WEA covers approximately 3,519,067 acres offshore Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, ranging from approximately 23 to 120 miles off the coast.
BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify an area that appears most suitable for floating offshore wind energy leasing and potential development, taking into consideration possible impacts to coastal and marine resources and ocean users.
During the 30-day public comment period, BOEM will hold a series of virtual public meetings to outline data and information used to inform the Draft WEA and to discuss next steps. Visit Gulf of Maine | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (boem.gov) for details and a meeting scheduled
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass, bluefish, bonito: “The striped bass bite was outstanding this weekend, with school bass to over slot size fish being caught off Point Judith and along the coast, with bonito and chub mackerel mixed in. Add anchored tautog anglers into the mix and it was chaotic, almost better to troll tube and worm,” said Elisa Chahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.
“The striped bass bite in the mid- and upper-Bay is still good, with anglers catching keepers trolling tube and worm off Barrington Beach, however activity is spotty. The fish are here and then there the next day. You just have to find them,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.
Expert shore fly fisherman and instructor Ed Lombardo said, “Fished the Narrow River and got a dozen shad and five bass to 25.” I used my hot pink and dark brown flies, both weighted. The water was outgoing and was near perfect, nice flow, no weeds, and nice and clear. Lots of bait to keep the fish there. Most of the fish hit the fly deep.”
Declan O’Conner of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, said, “Surfcasters have been finding good number of bass in the breachways and along the beach. Most of the bass were chasing bay anchovies, which are a minnow type bait ranging from half an inch to 3 inches. Customers have been using small soft plastics, bucktails with a teaser, and top water plugs. Fishing in the south shore salt ponds remain solid. There are good-sized mullet as well as peanut bunker keeping bigger sized bass entertained. Now that the temp is dropping you can expect bass to be active throughout the day.”
Tautog fishing has been producing for anglers all over Narragansett Bay, off Newport and along our southern coastal shore, with some large fish being caught. We weighed in an 8.3-pound fish and two 10 pounders this weekend, with anglers Bob Murray and Rich Hittinger of Skipjack catching some very large tautog for the RISAA Tournament. I caught three nice keeper tautog to 23” in the General Rock, North Kingstown area on an isolated piece of structure in 15 feet of water in about two hours. Also caught four underside tautog, three oyster fish and two cunners (choggies). The tautog regulation now is a 16” minimum size, five fish/angler/day with just one of them allowed to be 21” or larger. There is a ten fish per boat limit for private anglers.
“Tautog fishing has been very solid, with most boats easily catching their limit. The bite is anywhere from 15 to 40 feet of water. Both jigs and rigs seem to be producing well, even some tog being taken on metal jigs. There still are a few sea bass in the mix happy to take a half crab,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle.
“Everyone is tautog fishing. About 10 boats were fishing the Bristol Light House Saturday, but anglers fishing Conninicut Light caught a lot a shorts and found it difficult to catch keepers,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Baity & Tackle.
Scup, black sea bass and cod fish have been caught by anglers targeting tautog. Both scup and black sea bass catches have been dwindling. “The cod bite at Cox Ledge and black sea bass fishing at the East Fishing Grounds (three miles east of Block Island) has been good,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina.
“Scup are being caught in Providence by anglers fishing for tautog off the bulkheads and at the old train bridge,” said John Littlefield.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.