Rhode Island Fishing Newsletters > Atlantic menhaden regulations get attention
Atlantic menhaden regulations get attention

Mar 28, 2016

Atlantic menhaden regulations get attention
This Monday a workshop was held at the URI Bay Campus to review the stock status and proposed regulations on Atlantic menhaden, regulations pertaining to lobster, crabs and other crustations as well as commercial gill net regulations.
It was a proposed option to reduce the commercial threshold in the Narragansett Bay Atlantic menhaden management area that got the attention of recreational anglers. An Atlantic menhaden industry proposal for the Bay management reduced the Narraganset Bay biomass trigger form the 1.5 to 2-million pound range to 1.0 to 1.5-million pounds (a 500,000 pound reduction). The proposal would open the Bay management area to commercial fishing when there are 500,000 pounds less of Atlantic menhaden in the Bay. Presently, the biomass is assessed by air with trained piolets counting the number of schools and fish in the Bay on a regular basis. The management area in the Bay opens and closes depending on the number of fish in the Bay compared to the biomass threshold.
An industry spokesperson said, “This proposal was made to keep our boats in the area as last year with the Bay open and closed it was difficult to keep them in the area to commercially fish when the Bay was open.”
Steve Medeiros, president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, said, “The Narraganset Bay Atlantic menhaden plan is working well. We spent a number of years trying to work something out for the commercial fishery and leave enough biomass in the water as forage fish and the recreational fishery. So why change the program now.”
Other workshop highlights included a discussion on new proposed regulations for Johan and Atlantic rock crabs. Johan crab regulations being suggested by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) where proposed for Rhode Island. Fishermen expressed concern about the regulations not taking into consideration the uniqueness of the crab fishery in RI and tying it to lobster fishery regulations. Others felt the new proposed regulations did not consider the uniqueness of the RI State fishery. New proposals are expected to surface in time for the March 23 public hearing when all of the above regulating will be offered for public comment.

Quahog Week is next week
As part of a continued effort to support growth of the local food economy, Governor Gina Raimondo and First Gentleman Andy Moffit, along with state and food-industry leaders, will kick off Rhode Island’s first Quahog “Restaurant” Week on Monday, March 21, 2016 during a special launch event at Save the Bay.
For more information about Quahog Week and for a list of participating restaurants and events, visit www.seafoodri.com or like the Quahog Week page on Facebook. Join the conversation in social media by tagging the Facebook page or @RhodeIslandDEM on Twitter; share recipes, quahogging stories, and/or favorite restaurants and quahog dishes.
Mate school
Capt. Charlie Donilon of Snappa Charters, Pt. Judith will be kicking off his second make school on April 2nd and 9th with six hour long in classroom sessions at Centerville Commons, 875 Centerville Road, Warwick, Bld. 2, Suite 5. The school will culminate with an on the water practicum aboard the charter fishing vessel the Snappa the week of May 7th. The cost of the school is $195. Interested students should contact Capt. Donilon at 401.487.9044 or snappacharters@cox.net.
“We hope to place as many as ten students this year with summer jobs aboard party and charter boats. And a new twist, we will be offering a scholarship for the program through a local technical high school. It will likely take the form of an easy contest.” said Donilon. Contact Capt. Donilon for details on the scholarship program.
Mate School teaches students who want to be mates on charter and party boats how to prepare the vessel to fish, how to take care of and prepare fishing gear, how to teach customers how to fish, how to treat customers and much more. The program as it is designed now includes two six hour in-classroom sessions and a five hours on a trip aboard Capt. Donilon’ s charter fishing vessel the “Snappa”. Additional on the job training would occur aboard the Snappa or on another charter boat when you are hired. Mate School aims is to introduce students to what it is like to be a mate and what is expected of them as a mate on a charter or party fishing boat.
Where’s the bite
Fresh water fishing exploded this week with anglers catching largemouth bass, while perch and pickerel in fresh water ponds and lakes. John Migliori caught his firs freshwater bass in Big Pond in Newport last week using a Shadeycreek lure. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Fishing picked up nicely this week in area ponds. Customers are catching white perch in the Turner Reservoir, Riverside using crappie jigs and worms. The largemouth and pickerel bite is good in northern Rhode Island Ponds. Narrow River is yielding white perch as well as hold over striped bass north of Middle Bridge.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Freshwater fishing is hot. I sold out of shiners and worms this weekend. Customers are catching largemouth and pickerel at Stump Pond using shiners and earth worms.” Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “We missed out on an ice fishing season due to warm weather but customers are starting freshwater bass in Chapman’s Pond. But most are getting their gear ready for the start of trout season.”
Striped bass fishing for hold-over fish is outstanding in Connecticut rivers. Dave Henault said, “Fish to 32” are being caught with anglers using weighted jig heads.” John Littlefield of Archie’s said, “Customers are catching hold-over striped bass to 20 pounds in the Connecticut rivers. However, the bite in the Providence River for hold-over striped bass has not been good this year.”
Bait and seals have been in Narraganset Bay and in our coves in unusually large numbers the past couple of weeks. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “The peanut bunker (juvenile Atlantic menhaden) never left Apponaug Cover this winter.” The bait along with herring is now populating the cove with seals feeding on the bait. John Littlefield said, “Quahogers in the Conimicut Point area said seals are crashing schools of herring creating a lot of jumping and splashing action on the surface.”
Cod fishing has picked up with improving weather. Frank Blount of the Francis Fleet said, “We saw much better numbers of nice green market cod and a lot of short cod as well. The fish seemed to be spread out over a fair size area as well. One trip we had some nice ling and a Pollock mixed in as well as few early spring sea bass which were released unharmed immediately. On a few days hi hooks had upwards to 5-8 keepers apiece and the majority of fishers left with enough cod for dinner.”

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