The Department of Environmental Management's (DEM) Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold an introduction to freshwater fly-fishing Saturday, April 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Addieville East Game Farm in Mapleville, RI. The workshop is for children 12 and older accompanied by an adult. All equipment and fly tying materials supplied as well as a cook-out lunch. The program is free of charge and is sponsored by RI DEM, the New England School of Fly Fishing and the Northern RI Trout Unlimited chapter #737 and the United Fly Tiers of Rhode Island. For additional information and for registration materials, contact Kimberly Sullivan at 539-0037 or via e-mail at or email@example.com.
Symposium big hit
"Ecosystem-based fisheries management is a way to sustain the benefits people get from the ocean by accounting for the interconnections among marine life, humans and the environment." That's the way Greg Wells of Pew Charitable Trusts kicked off the 2015 Sothern New England Recreational Fishing Symposium.
Wells defined ecosystem -based fisheries management for the 86 invited recreational fishing industry leaders and fishermen in attendance Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick, RI. Pew, the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Foundation sponsored the daylong symposium.
"The theme of the symposium is to grow recreational fish to abundance through ecosystem based management." said Rich Hittinger, symposium director and 1st vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA). "We need to protect and grow our recreational fishing resource in Rhode Island. According to NOAA it supports 2,000 full time jobs and has a $208-million impact a year on Rhode Island's economy."
Russell Dunn, National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries, Office of the Assistant Administrator (which is the top recreational fishing position in NOAA) said "Nationally recreational fishing employs over 381,000 people and generates $58- billion in annual sales impacts plays a major role in our economy."
Dunn presented highlights of the nation's first Recreational Fishing Policy released this year saying, "The policy was developed to institutionalize NOAA's commitment to recreational fishing, to guide the agency's actions and foster accountability to recreational fishing stakeholders."
Jonathan Hare, PhD., director of NOAA's Fisheries Science Center Lab in Narrgansett, RI presented on the Impact of Climate Change on Ecosystem Management said, "Climate change and variability have been affecting fisheries for decades and will continue to affect fisheries for decades to come."
Hare pointed to the migration of fish to the northeast such as summer flounder, black sea bass, cobia and a host of others likely due to warming northern waters. "Climate change can have a negative or positive impact on fishing." Some species will migrate into the area and others (cold water fish like winter flounder and cod) may migrate out of the area.
Jason McNamee, Supervising Marine Biologist, for the RI Department of Environmental Management presented a new multi-species statistical catch-at-age model on Atlantic menhaden, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish and scup. The study model is one of the first of its type in the northeast that he is working on with Dr. Jeremy Collie at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography.
McNamee's model demonstrated the relationship between forage fish and predators. You could see the correlation between the supply of Atlantic menhaden (a primary forage fish in our area) and the abundance of striped bass. McNamee said his presentation "Puts their research in the context of existing work on this species complex (Atlantic menhaden, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish and scup) , and presents some of the preliminary results from the modeling framework."
Brett Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Snook & Gamefish Foundation, Florida presented on a program were recreational anglers in Florida recorded their catch and effort electronically on smart phones to collect supplemental fishing data.
Fitzgerald said to audience members, "Let's get the application working." As he hit a few buttons on his smart phone he pointed into the audience and said, "OK now you're a striped bass and you're a bluefish. Let me know when you are caught." Later in the presentation audience members yield out "I'm caught.", Fitzgerald recorded their length and at the presentation conclusion Fitzgerald shared the information on the trip.
Fitzgerald said, "The Snook & Gamefish Foundation, with support from biologists, statisticians and anglers, developed the angler survey called the Angler Action Program (AAP) which captured size and general location, along with other data points." The Foundation supplied fish managers with the supplemental data helping them to make better fisheries management policy and regulation decisions.
Matthew Mullen, Northeast Regional Director of the Environmental Defense Fund said, "For years my friends and I would do a list of fish we caught on our fishing outings… years later we now use a modified version of the Snook & Gamefish Foundation smart phone software to record catch and effort data in the Chesapeake Bay area. It is gratifying that we are now contributing to the fishery by providing accurate catch and effort data to fish managers."
Steve Medeiros, president of RISAA said, "We plan to post Symposium presentations on our website along with the input received from participants on ecosystem drivers and challengers in Southern New England. Our hope is to tap Symposium participants one more time with a survey that will help us prioritize our RISAA action plan to grow fish to abundance using eco-system based management strategies. Additionally, we hope to explore a pilot project like the Florida initiative Brett Fitzgerald spoke about where recreational anglers record catch and effort on smart phones, tablets and computers but we have to make sure fish managers here in Rhode Island and at NOAA will recognize our efforts and be able to utilize the data collected to supplement their data collection efforts."
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license and a charter fishing license. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.