By CAPT. DAVE MONTI If you want to provide input on recreational fishing regulations in state waters you won’t want to miss upcoming meetings. Two workshops, a hearing and the Rhode Island …
By CAPT. DAVE MONTI If you want to provide input on recreational fishing regulations in state waters you won’t want to miss upcoming meetings. Two workshops, a hearing and the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Management Council meetings have been scheduled to discuss recreational fishing regulations. The meetings will address regulations on species recreational anglers love to catch and eat.
Important regulatory issues anglers are advocating for include starting the black sea bass season earlier in June or in May and what the tradeoffs are with the fall/winter season? Concerns for the tautog fishery in light of an abundance of large females with great spawning potential being killed? And why can’t anglers catch and keep more than three bluefish, particularly small snapper blues which are traditionally fished for by families in our covers and harbors?
The Rhode Island Saltwater Angler Association (RISAA) leaders met in December with DEM officials to express their concern about recreational regulations for 2022. Since the meeting the Council and Board approved measures for 2022 regulations including a 28 percent black sea bass Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL) reduction coastwide; a 33 percent reduction in scup; and up to a 18.5 percent liberalization of the RHL for summer flounder. All of these actions will likely result in RI and MA fishing regulation changes for 2022. However after vetting at state meetings these measures go through the Commission/Council process and NOAA with conservation equivalency proposals.
Greg Vespe, RISAA Executive Director, said, “Even though we may have a reduction we would like to see the black sea bass season start earlier this year. We have recommended this for years to give Bay and shore anglers an opportunity to catch keeper sized black sea bass (larger than 15 inches). These fish are in the mid and upper Bay in the spring, but once the water warms at the end of June and July thy leave for cooler/deeper water in the lower Bay and offshore.”
DEM is working on black sea bass scenarios along with others that RISAA discussed with them in hopes of presenting some viable alternatives at the workshop on January 4. Anglers are urged to attend this meeting (in person or online) and express their opinion on proposed regulation option.
DEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries will hold the regulatory workshops at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 4, and one on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in anticipation of a public hearing to be held on Feb. 7, 2022.
As noted above, the purpose of workshops is to provide opportunity for feedback on regulatory amendments, and to offer an opportunity for new proposals to be provided for consideration. Meetings will be both in-person and virtual. For agendas and background material visit www.dem.ri.gov/programs/marine-fisheries/rimfc/index.php.
The agenda for the Jan. 2, 2022 meeting includes discussions on 2022 regulation management for recreational black sea bass, scup and summer flounder. As well as recreational and commercial tautog; recreational and commercial striped bass as well as floating fish trap management; recreational and commercial bluefish; and shortfin mako regulations in state waters. If you have any questions about a proposal that you may be considering, it is strongly encouraged that you speak with staff prior to submitting so that the proposal is clearly represented in the workshop presentation.
To join meeting virtually (via Zoom) go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81429791081; Dial in at 1-929-205-6099; and if you plan to attend in person the meeting will be held at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI.
There will be one agenda item at the 5 p.m., Jan. 10, 2022 meeting … the Research Pilot Aggregate Program for commercial fishers. You can join this meeting via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88648953585, Meeting ID: 886 4895 3585, with a Dial in # of 1-929-205-6099. The meeting can also be attended in person at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI
Last week the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Board (Board) approved changes to the commercial and recreational allocations of summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass during a joint meeting in Annapolis, Maryland. These changes are intended to better reflect the current understanding of the historic proportions of catch and landings from the commercial and recreational sectors. So for 2023 we will be operating under these new allocations which will hopefully provide modest positive adjustments to recreational fishing harvest limits.
Where’s the bite?
“Anglers have been doing well with trout at stocked ponds. Willet Avenue Pond is producing trout with a good salmon and trout bite at Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s bait & Tackle, Riverside. Synthetic baits (like PowerBait) are the baits of choice in stocked ponds for a couple of weeks as the fish are use to eating synthetic food in the hatchery. Once fish acclimate natural baits are recommended. Anglers are reminded to renew their licenses for salt and freshwater for 2022. For licensing information and a list of trout stocked ponds in Rhode Island visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries; and in Massachusetts visit www.mass.gov/freshwater-fishing-information.
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.
Black Sea Bass – Photo A1
BLACK SEA BASS: Catching keeper black sea bass (15” and over) is difficult after June and July in our Bays as the water warms and large fish move to cooler waters in the lower Bay or offshore. (Submitted photo)
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