$1.1-million awarded for fish, wind-farm studies

Rhode Island, Massachusetts and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) this week announced grants worth $1.1 million to four institutions — INSPIRE Environmental of Newport, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the University of Rhode Island, and the New Bedford Port Authority — to collect data vital to the development of the offshore wind industry and fishing.

INSPIRE Environmental, of Newport, in conjunction with the New England Aquarium and Standard Approaches for Acoustic and Imagery Data, will use acoustic telemetry to study highly migratory species. The initiative will include the acoustic tagging and tracking of species such as tuna and sharks at popular recreational fishing spots in wind farm areas. The study aims to provide new baseline data on highly migratory species, enabling ongoing assessment of any impacts (negative or positive) of offshore wind on highly migratory species and associated recreational fishing.

“Rhode Island is a proud partner in this landmark effort to conduct regional scientific studies on fisheries resources prior to the start of any offshore construction activities,” said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. “The selected studies will help to fill data gaps and allow for informed decision-making while paving the way for meeting Rhode Island’s renewable energy goals and advancing climate mitigation efforts.”

Atlantic bluefin tuna closure

The Angling category in the northern area (north of 39�18’ north latitude) for trophy bluefin tuna closed on May 21 and will remain closed through Dec. 31. Trophy bluefin tuna are those that measure 73 inches or greater. Note that the Angling category fishery for school, large school, or small medium bluefin tuna (27 to 73 inches) remains open in all areas except for the Gulf of Mexico. For additional information visit https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/ .

COVID-19 fishing

As a charter captain, I plan on implementing a series of guidelines as part of my COVID-19 plan to get back to fishing with customers.

Earlier this week, I fished with a colleague practicing many of these precautions and added a few based on the experience.

Masks were worn on the vessel and a six-foot separation was practiced. The tackle box remained off limits except for the captain, bait was cut wearing gloves. Ideally it should have been put in separate containers for each angler, but each of us used our own gear. Hands were washed or sanitized frequently.

After the fishing trip, all gear, tackle and tools touched by anglers were put aside. The vessel was washed with soap and rinsed thoroughly. All fishing rods, tackle and tools were washed. High touch areas were then disinfected with cleaner.

Fishing is a sport/activity that can be safely implemented in a pandemic, bringing joy to families and friends. At press time, the state is developing a formula for the number of passengers on charter boats based on the length and beam of the vessel. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for details.

Visit www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com for my business’s COVID-19 plan to charter fish and personal recreational fishing trips.

Where’s the bite?

Tautog. Kiana Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle in Warren said: “We weighed in a 25-inch male tautog last week.” Ed Manning of Little Compton caught a 20-inch tautog off Little Compton Beach. Catching tautog from the beach is often not an easy task. “Customers caught keeper tautog this weekend at the Day Marker and Conimicut Light. One customer caught two keepers at the Day Marker but they were in the 16-17 inch range. Primarily small fish,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle in Riverside. “The tautog fishing picked up this week with a good bite at General Rock, Plum Light and off Hope Island,” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle in Warwick. Jeff Ingber of Ocean State Tacklein Providence said: “Last weekend the tautog fishing was off. Once the front arrived things shut down.” Dereck Kolodziejczak reports on the RI Saltwater Angler Blog, “We fished all over Narragansett Bay, Newport, Providence for tog on Friday, Saturday and Sunday both sides of the tide 10-40 feet of water. STRUGGLE CITY!”

Striped bass. “Apponaug and East Greenwich coves, Warwick Light and Bear Point, Prudence Island have all been good for school striped bass fishing,” said Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. Nathan Heywood of Red Top Sporting Goods in Buzzards Bay, said: “There are a lot of school striped bass in the Cape Cod Canal now with an occasional keeper being caught. Soft plastics, bait and all types of lures seem to be working.” Ingber of Ocean State said: “Striped bass in the 22-26 inch range are all over the East Passage and in the West Passage they seem stretched out from Warwick Light to Quonset Point.” Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle said: “We have bass in the upper reaches of the bay. The bite has been good off Veterans Parkway at Bull Point and India Point, Providence,” said Littlefield.

Freshwater. “Customers are experiencing a good pickerel and largemouth bite at Stump Pond,” said Ingber of Ocean State. Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said: “The largemouth bite is good in area ponds. Shiners are the bait of choice.” John Lavallee of Continental Bait & Tackle in Cranston said: “With the cold April we have an extended trout season. Carbuncle Pond (Coventry) has been very good. But Meadow Brook Pond (Bradford) and Carolina Pond (Richmond) have been great too.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com .

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