The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board last week approved increases to the 2016 black sea bass commercial quota and recreational harvest limit (RHL). This means more black sea bass can be taken by commercial and recreational fishermen.
The ASMFC announced that the commercial quota is now being set at 2.71 million pounds (was going to be 2.24 million pounds) and the RHL is being set at 2.88 million pounds (was at 2.33 million pounds). "These increases are consistent with actions taken by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in October. The increased quota for black sea bass was based on updated catch and survey information. A black sea bass benchmark stock assessment is underway for completion in December 2016." said the ASMFC in a press release Thursday.
The black sea bass increase was welcomed by fishermen as both recreational and commercial fishermen have long said stock assessment data for black sea bass was highly incarnate due to climate change and other factors. Plus anglers have been catching an abundance of the fish only to have to release them due to low catch limits.
The Board initiated development of Draft Addendum XXVII to the Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plans (FMP) to consider extending use of regional management approaches for the 2016 recreational summer flounder fishery, including an option that would allow for a Delaware Bay specific region. The Draft Addendum also will propose extending use of ad-hoc regional management approaches for black sea bass recreational fisheries in 2016 and 2017. In the event the options in Draft Addendum XXVII are not approved for management, the Board extended the current summer flounder regional management approach for use in 2016.
In 2014, the Board approved Addendum XXV to shift away from traditional use of state-by-state harvest targets under conservation equivalency to use of an alternative regional strategy for managing summer flounder recreational fisheries. Based on its success in keeping recreational harvest within the RHL and providing greater regulatory consistency among neighboring states, this strategy was extended for use in 2015.
State-by-state harvest targets previously utilized under conservation equivalency created difficulties for some states as overages occurred due largely to state shares and limits not reflecting local summer flounder abundance and its availability to recreational fishermen. In 2014 and 2015 management regions were the following: Massachusetts; Rhode Island; Connecticut-New Jersey; Delaware-Virginia; and North Carolina.
The Draft Addendum also will propose the continued use of regional management for the 2016 black sea bass recreational fishery with a northern (Massachusetts - New Jersey) and southern region (Delaware - North Carolina).
The regional management approach has been used since 2011 and offers advantages over coastwise regulations by addressing geographic differences in the stock (size, abundance and seasonality) while maintaining the consistent application of management measures by neighboring states.
Draft Addendum XXVII will be presented to the Board for its consideration and approval for public comment at its joint meeting with the Council in December. At the December meeting, the Board and Council also will consider black sea bass and scup federal management measures for 2016.
For more information, please contact Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at email@example.com or 703.842.0740.
Capt. Al Anderson to release new book…Tag is in the Fish
"Simply put, my book 'Tag is in the Fish' is about both traditional and electronic fish tagging along with some information about my personal tagging of both bluefin and stripers." said Capt. Al Anderson about his new book now at the publishers. Capt. Anderson who had been a charter captain out of Pt. Judith operated the charter fishing vessel the Persuader for many years.
The book talks about the tagging efforts of various agencies including The Billfish Foundation, The Cooperative Game Fish Tagging Program of NMFS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Tagging Program, and the American Littoral Society.
Information on how to purchase the book will be released shortly.
Where's the bite
Squid fishing has been very good with reports of anglers catching squid in Newport, Jamestown and in Narragansett. Angler Greg Vespe of Tiverton said, "Squid fishing has been outstanding in the lower bay. I even got a triple header the other day, my first ever. Most nights between 10 and 40 pounds. I hope it will hold until the temperature start to get down towards 50 degrees." Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, "Squid fishing has been insane. Some anglers are catching them on striped bass lures like pencil poppers. Squid are everywhere."
Tautog fishing remains off the charts. It has been the best tautog fishing in a few years with many anglers catching their limit on the southern coastal shore, off Jamestown and Newport. Some nice fish have been taken in Narraganset Bay at favorite spots such as Hope Island, General Rock, the Providence River and in the Warren River. Angler Eric Appolonia and I fished off Newport last week and hooked up with nine nice keepers to 24" in a matter of two hours. Fish were caught on an egg sinker rig designed with a single hook below the sinker on a swivel. The bite off Newport was strong Sunday as well, fishermen on board my boat reached their limit, with two to three shorts to every keeper. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, "Fishing at Coddington Cover Sunday was difficult. Anglers caught most short fish there." Chris Jalbert of Westerly and fishing partner Dan Simas of Bristol easily caught eight keepers last week said, "Fish were caught on a simple rig of surgeon's loop with sinker (2-3oz) and a dropper loop 3-4" above the loop with a green crab on a 5/0 octopus hook. Whole and cut crabs worked equally as well. We were fishing south shore of RI in 25-30' water. It's been a very good couple weeks of fishing once water got below 60 degrees." Phil Mattson of Breachway Bait & Tackle said, "Tautog fishing off the Charlestown reefs has been great as well as off Pt. Judith. Anglers are catching fish in 20 to 40 feet of water." John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said customer Albert Bettencourt and fishing partners caught about eighty fish to get to their limit of ten keepers. They fished the Rose Island Newport area. Other areas where anglers are doing well from shore include the old Jamestown Bridge, the Wharf Tavern and Colt State Park areas." Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, "Black fish action has been remarkably consistent with most days seeing a third to one half of fishers limiting out. Several fish in the 10-11 pound range this past week and a fair amount of others 7-8 pound fish. Tremendous amounts of short tog as well. Only a couple days saw any real quantity of sea bass mixed in, they do seem to be thinning from the inshore grounds as water temps slowly cool. A handful of keeper cod and some short cod along with a few red hake and even a couple conger eels were recorded this past week."
Striped bass and bluefish fishing from shore all along the southern coastal shore have been very good. Phil Mattson from Breachway Bait said, "Striped bass fishing from the beach in Charlestown as been very good with school size bass as well as 15 to 25 pound fish. And, at night 30 to 40 pound fish are being caught on ells at night. During the day anglers are using Storm Shard, Bucktails and shallow water diving lures with success." Mattson said, "The blue fish bite has been good too with some large fish in the 12 to 15 pound range being weighed in this week." Tim Gilchrist said, "Lots of early morning stoolies almost on the shore at east beach Quonnie with a few large fish in the 36" range mixed in. Most successful bias was a white 4" Storm Shad fished slowly." Angler Gil Bell of Charlestown said he landed a giant bluefish (14.17 pounds and 33") a Washington County Beach last week.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing 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 e-mail him with your fishing news and photos at firstname.lastname@example.org.