NOAA Fisheries’ Maine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) now has a website that answers angler questions about producing recreational fishing catch and effort estimates which are used in part to develop recreational fishing harvest limits.
An article titled “Ask MRIP: Answering your questions about estimating recreational catch” can be found at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/ask-mrip-answering-your-questions-about-estimating-recreational-catch
Questions covered in the article, which is loaded with data links, include: Why do we ‘estimate’ recreational catch? How does sampling work? How are estimates of recreational catch produced? And, how does NOAA Fisheries ensure its estimate are high –quality?
If you have any questions on recreational estimates email NOAA Fisheries at NMFS.MRIP@noaa.gov.
Need to change fishing law to mitigate climate impacts quickly
In the past I have written about climate change scenario planning and how it is a useful planning tool. It is a process that helps fisheries mitigate and address climate impacts on habitat, fish, ocean mammals and fishing communities. NOAA ran three workshops in the fishing community to explain the process.
I shared how I thought the plight of North Atlantic Right Whales would benefit from scenario planning. My mistake, there was a North American Right Whale scenario planning session held by NOAA with a report issued on March 22, 2021. For the summary report visit www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/north-atlantic-right-whale-eubalaena-glacialis-scenario-planning-summary-report.
NOAA’s scenario planning for right whales was a good move, however, fish managers are not moving fast enough to address climate impacts. The scenario planning session was held in 2018, with a report on the session issued in March, 2021. So, although some actions were taken early, it took three years to implement the new September, 2021 Federal regulations designed to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in lobster gear.
We all have to do better, including NOAA, its regional Councils, State regulators, the fishing community and fishing writers like me to bring forward how climate change is impacting our fish and habitat. We need to adapt or reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), our national fishing law, to allow us to be more nimble in response to climate impacts as climate change impacts are exponential and are not waiting for us.
A new bill reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Edward Chase (D-HI). Visit https://huffman.house.gov for bill highlights and a copy of the actual bill. The bill has climate change provisions that would provide NOAA with the funding to do additional research, stock assessments to try to stay ahead of climate change impacts and gives them the authority to act more quickly.
Where’s the bite?
Tautog. Tautog fishing is very good off Newport and Pt. Judith. Fished Saturday with Dave and Brian Hanuschak and they caught tautog to 20” off Newport. The bite picked up around 10:30 a.m. Brian said, “The tautog bite was outstanding, more fish than we ever caught, with a lot of short fish in the mix.” Mark Jacobs of the Lady J shared on the RI Saltwater Anglers blog, “Arrived off Pt. Judith (Saturday) just before nine and anchored only once in 35 ft. of water. Pretty steady action on hi-lo rigged crabs with 3:1 short to keeper ratio. Reached our boat limit of 9 fish with 3 over 20 inches. Pretty special fishing a mile from the marina. Looking forward to my first fresh tog meal of the year.” Paul Phillips of North Kingstown, said, “Fished for tog off Newport last week from about 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Took about 15 min for the first bite then action was nonstop. Kept my three fish limit. Threw many 16" to 20" fish back, lots of shorts between 14" to just short of 16" were released as well. Caught 42 tog in all”.
Striped bass, bluefish. The bluefish bite with some striped bass was on this weekend in the West passage of Narragansett Bay just north of Hope Island, Pine Hill and along the western shore near Quidnessett Country Club, North Kingstown. Angler Fred DeFinis of Middletown said, “Was fishing last week at Elbow Ledge and massive schools of very large blues—all over two feet and many over 30 inches. Sleek, fat and strong. They would crash the surface but you could also blind cast or troll them up with small lures. Didn’t have to wait long for a hook-up—30-40 seconds trolling did the trick.” East End Eddie Doherty said, “The Canal’s east tide carried a medium size school of breaking striped bass on Monday at first light while feasting on peanut bunker & silversides. Fish up to 42 inches were caught on pencils, swimmers & soft plastic jigs under the full Harvest Moon.”
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.