Rhode Island Fishing Newsletters > Say “yes” to fish interviewers
Say “yes” to fish interviewers

Feb 6, 2016

Say “yes” to fish interviewers

It won’t be long now and the Marine Recreational Information Program’s (MRIP) interviewers will be out surveying recreational anglers. The difference this year is that those doing the interviewing will be employed and supervised by the RI Department of Environmental Management rather than being employed by an out of state consultant.

Michael Bucko, Rhode Island’s Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS) Lead Biologist said, “Anglers need to know all the information they share is confidential and no information will be used for law enforcement. Being truthful can only enhance how recreational fisheries are managed and ultimately help ensure the future of fish we all care about.”

The idea is to survey recreational anglers at docks, on the shoreline, at boat ramps as well as those fishing on charter and party boats. The expectation is that Rhode Island surveyors who know the local culture and fishing areas and will be better received by fishermen.

Bucko said, “In the past fishermen would see our clip board and run the other way. For every ten interviews, twenty-five anglers would decline to be interviewed. We hope to enhance this ratio because we are training our staff to be less threatening to anglers. The hope is that cooperation and participation will be enhanced.”

Anglers are asked demographic, fishing trip and biological questions about their catch. Questions include Where did you fish today? What species did you target? And may I weigh and measure your catch?

The program aims to come up with an estimate of what fish are being caught on an average trip. This data is combined with mail/telephone survey data collected by a separate “effort” survey of anglers. Recreational angler saltwater license data along with postal address information is combined to mail the survey.

Over the years telephone surveys have been proven less effective due to incorrect telephone numbers or cell numbers that often do not work. So moving forward the effort survey will likely be mailed and/or emailed to anglers.

Bucko said, “Simply put the catch data we collet with our intercept “catch” survey and the “effort” survey data are multiplied to determine recreational harvest. It’s more complex than this with models and formulas but that is it in a nutshell.”

Over the years the MRIP data fish mangers use to measure recreational harvest has been criticized as unreliable. However, today NOAA has enhanced both catch and effort survey methodologies to the point that most are optimistic about arriving at a much more reliable solution to estimate recreational harvest.

There will be a team of six interviewers in Rhode Island. All are well qualified to identify fish, weigh and measure them. The two staff Field Technicians I met were marine biologist who graduated from the University of Rhode Island and did advance study in Bermuda.

On a daily basis the survey team will be given randomly selected locations (out of 280 possibilities in RI) to survey. The goal is to complete 2,200 to 2,400 surveys this year.

Bucko said, “Historically some anglers have not been totally truthful when being asked about what they caught, kept and released as they fear that recreational fishing limits will become more conservative because too many fish are coming out of the water. However, the truth is it could work the opposite way. If mangers believe anglers are not catching a particular species they may lower the harvest limit as the data is telling them there aren’t as many fish in the water as they thought.”

So if anglers are approached by a DEM representative to do a survey they are urged to participate and be truthful as it can only enhance recreational fishing for all in the future.

To learn more about the program visit www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call Mike Bucko from RI DEM at 401.783.2304.

Rocky Point rocks with access awards

Two prominent Rhode Islanders garnered top public access awards for their work to preserve Rocky Point as public access space. Saturday night Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and John Howell, Beacon Communications publisher, received Public Access Awards from the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA).

Steve Medeiros, president, presented the awards at RISAA’s annual recognition dinner at the West Valley Inn, West Warrick. Medeiros said, “The work these two Rhode Islanders did through the City of Warwick, the State of Rhode Island and the Rocky Point Foundation to secure Rocky Point as a public access point for fishermen and all Rhode Islanders was outstanding. We hope the state will build a fishing pier there in the near future.”

Medeiros also presented 2015 angler awards at the annual dinner. Reid Beland of East Greenwich (10 years old) earned the RISAA Junior Angler of the Year award by getting four first place species awards, one second place and two third place awards for a point total of 16. For the third year in a row Lary Norin of Cumberland earned the Angler of the Year award with a total of seventeen points.

For complete information on award recipients visit www.risaa.org.

Summer Flounder (fluke) seminar slated for February 9

Capt. Dave Monti will present “How to catch larger fluke” Tuesday, February 9, 7:00 p.m. at the Newport County Saltwater Fishing Club, Hibernian Hall, 2 Wellington Avenue, Newport, RI. The presentation will include interviews with ten local and national fluke experts and address strategies, tactics, baits and rigs to catch larger summer flounder. Highlights will include instruction on how to make Capt. Monti’s “fluke cocktail” bait and those in attendance will have access to his top ten summer flounder fishing tips. Contact club president Dennis Zambrotta at 401.841.6505 with questions.

Striper anglers say fishing off in 2015

The results of the Stripers Forever 2015 Annual Fishing Survey were released last week and eight-four percent of survey respondents described the striper fishery as worse or much worse compared to last year. The survey report said many anglers speculate “that most of the older, larger fish from the great year classes of the 1990s and early 2000s have been removed from the population.”

The survey report said “our members continue to believe we should not be harvesting large, breeding stripers and that members want to set aside a high percentage of the current commercial catch for conservation – and not harvest it themselves. Seventy-five percent of members said they are willing to buy a stamp to finance the buyout of the commercial fishery.”

In 2015 657 Striper Forever members responded to the annual survey. Survey respondents were from states along the striper’s migratory range with higher numbers in MA and NJ as usual. Stripers Forever is a volunteer organization dedicated to making the striped bass a gamefish and advocates for the conservation and responsible stewardship of wild striped bass along the Atlantic Coast.

Visit www.stripersforever.org for survey details.

Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishing has improved slightly as ice melted this week.

Cod fishing remains good off Rhode Island. Winter storms of last week stirred things up and scattered bait and fish, however, fishing has improved as things are settling down. Party boats sailing for cod fish at this time include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com , the Seven B’s (with Capt. Andy Dangelo at the helm) at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com .

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