Marine sanctuaries and monuments on chopping block
In a media advisory last week the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said they are soliciting public comment on National Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments designated or expanded since 2007 to determine if they should exist or be reduced.
President Trump’s Offshore Energy Strategy outlined in his May Executive Order has ordered the Secretary of Commerce through NOAA to review if national monuments and sanctuaries present “lost opportunity” with regard to potential energy and mineral exploration and production.
Many in the fishing community are split about National Monuments. Some believe, as the President does, that profits and jobs should come first. However, a large part of the fishing and conservation communities believe it should be the environment and fish that should be first. Many believe that National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Monuments serve as a sanctuary and spawning grounds for a variety of sea life and fish and should be left untouched by development.
For information on National Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries visit NOAA Fisheries website at nmfs.noaa.gov.
Where’s the bite
“The striped bass bite on the southwest side of Block Island continues to be spotty, however, the fish being taken are large in the mid 40 pound range,” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina. “We still have plenty of school bass around but things have slowed down in Mt. Hope and Narragansett Bays for keepers. Things are better on Block Island with some big fish being caught there and off Westport,” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren. Jose Estrava, an associate at Ocean State Bait & Tackle, Providence caught a 35 pound bass at the Cape Cod Cannel using a three once pencil lure. “Bass are being caught in the lower river at the Day Marker, off Green Island and areas between Fields Point and Conimicut Light. The bite off Newport has been good too with anglers landing fish using plugs, trolling and using eels from shore. Top performing plugs for striped bass this year include the two once dotters by Yo-Zuri,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State.
"Summer Flounder and black sea bass bite has been good in the Warwick Neck area,” said Henault. “Fluke fishing at the Island has been good as well as along the coastal shore from Narragansett to East Matunuck,” said Capt. Tom Pelletier of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown. Conti said, “Fluke fishing has been better along the coast than around Block Island with fish being caught from Narragansett to Charlestown with black sea bass being caught in rocky areas (off Pt. Judith Light). Bigger summer flounder are being caught at the East Grounds… either you find the fluke there or a lot of dogfish. It is hit or miss. But the fluke are bigger there.” Macedo said, “The fluke bite is pretty good at the mouth of the Sakonnet, off Newport with some nice fish being caught under the Mt. Hope Bridge. Some very large black sea bass have been caught around Block Island.”
“Scup fishing is very good with some very large fish in the 13” to 17” range being caught at the Mt. Hope Bridge (both sides), Hog Island as well as in the Newport area,” said Macedo. “The scup bite off Warwick Neck was good Thursday as 50 participants of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association fishing camp fished from 15 volunteer vessels, scup to 15” were caught that day.
Squid fishing has been spotty; however, a good bite was reported at Ft. Wetherill, Jamestown this week.
Offshore fishing is just starting to pick up. Conti said, “Some bluefin tuna was caught at the Horns this week with small yellow fin caught at Atlantis. We had a swordfish caught this week with blue sharks active at Tuna Ridge and a 200 plus pound mako shark caught by the vessel Big Game at the Horns. We hope for a busy week with the Snug Harbor Shark Tournament starting next weekend.”
Freshwater fishing for trout has slowed a great deal as the water has warmed and stocked ponds are being depleted. However the largemouth bass bite remains strong with smaller fish being taken. The Brickyard Pond in Barrington is getting weedy but yielding some nice carp,” said Macedo.
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 noflukefishing.com.