Hi Folks !, When its ice fishing weather, I know its hard to visualize sunny, calm waters with busting stripers, crashing and slurping, with gulls wheeling and diving into the Monomoy Rips for squid and sand eels, but soon enough, we will be there. I do have new 2011 tide books and if you are committed to go with me again this year, plan ahead by booking a date that has a good tide, departure time and on a day with less boat traffic. Send me an email with your planned vacation dates and I’ll reply with what would be the best tides on days for that particular week.
As you may know, this year most recreational saltwater anglers will need a saltwater license. You DO NOT need one to fish on a charter boat. I am required to buy an addition permit that allows my charter customers to be able to fish license free. Congress has added a prevision to the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Steven Act to “improve the quality of data used to estimate the effects of recreational fishing on ocean resources and the nation’s economy”. (DMF news - Vol 31) The NMFS proposed the license would cost as high as $25 annually with the funds going directly to the US Treasury, but if individual states set up a program that complied with standards of reporting and permitting, anglers would be exempt from the Fed permit requirement. So Massachusetts has set up this permit and reporting process, and its going to cost anglers $10. As set up, the fees collected can only be used on “approved marine recreational fishing programs” and 1/3 of annual appropriations must be dedicated to recreational saltwater fishing access projects.(DMF News Vol 31)
Other news : The ASMFC allows an increase in spiny dogfish commercial catch of an additional 5 million pounds, and the stock is declared “not overfished.” ( no kidding! ) MA DMF officials were disappointed and wanted a larger increase in allowed commercial quotas. A few less dogfish in our waters will allow the sportfish a better chance of survival and forage species. The ASMFC Striped Bass Management board decided against an increase in the commercial quota for striped bass. The reason for not increasing the quota was declining recreational catches, “ 25% decline in estimated spawning stock abundance from 2004 to 2008” and “below average production of young of year class fish from the Chesapeake Bay.” The Management Board also requested an assessment 2 years ahead of the previously scheduled stock report, to determine if these trends are short or long term, and corrective actions may be needed.
ON Bluefin Tuna: The NMFS has held 5 “listening sessions” at the request of US tuna fishing associations to “give bluefin fishers an opportunity to present information to be considered in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) status review that is now underway. There has been a petition to list BFT as endangered by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBT) citing various reasons, many of which have no documentation and are merely speculation. Recent ICCAT management improvements and the last two stock assessments were not even considered in the analysis of the petition. Most local tuna fishers attended the Boston meeting and offered comments as to anecdotal estimates of stock size and other factors believed pertinent in the upcoming decision by NMFS to either support or deny the ESA listing. It is important to realize that the US fisher has complied with and operated under very strict harvest guidelines for the last 25 years. Although E Atlantic and Mediterranean fishers have consistently overharvested the resource, we feel the improvements made in the last 2 years at ICCAT on quotas, monitoring and reporting will have very significant positive effects and the ESA listing is no longer warranted. Email me for more detailed analysis if you like.
Thanks very much,
Capt. Bruce & Marilyn S