Reports on fish stocks, climate impacts and the need for more NOAA funding

By CAPT. DAVE MONTI The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its Annual Report to Congress on the State of the United States Fisheries and its 2019 Report on the United States Fisheries. You could say it’s NOAA’s annual newsletter.

Over 40 years of managing our country’s fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSA) has positioned our country (and NOAA Fisheries) as a world leader in sustainable fisheries management .

The success of our fisheries is due to the strong conservation measures in our Federal Fisheries Act (MSA) such as catch quotas, size limits, recovery times, fisheries accountability measures and other management measures.

Today, the impacts of climate change such as the warming of the water and the movement of fish stocks it has created, ocean acidification and habitat degradation add great complexity to the mix. More frequent fish surveys, stock assessments, and new and better research methods are needed to identify what is happening to fish stocks. Have the fish stocks been moved? Are they depleted, overfished or is there overfishing?

Increased NOAA funding is needed due to climate impacts to help determine the changing state of fish stocks.

In a press advisory, NOAA said, “Over 90 percent of the stocks are not overfished and 80 percent are not overfished; the number of stocks on the overfishing list and the overfishing list increased slightly, with 26 stocks on the overfishing list and 49 stocks on the overfishing list; and the status of six previously unknown stocks was determined through new stock assessments for the first time.

For links to the 2020 Stock Status Report and 2019 US Fisheries Report, visit stocks-2020-and-fisheries- United States.

DEM will host programs for youth, adults and families

The Fisheries and Wildlife Division of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will be running a variety of programs this summer, ranging from fishing days, clam and archery lessons to local education. hunters and virtual wildlife conservation programs.

DEM’s Fish and Wildlife Outreach team has put together a menu of summer programs for aspiring and avid outdoor enthusiasts and their families. Most of the programs offered this summer are free and suitable for families.

For a full list of up-to-date programs, visit

Tips for catching and releasing

90 percent of striped bass are caught and released by anglers and 65 percent are blue fish. It is important to employ good catching and release practices to reduce the mortality rate of released fish. To release unharmed striped bass and bluefish (as well as other species), consider the capture and release techniques below. – Use circle hooks, they will get the striped bass hooked in the mouth (not the gut) 95 percent of the time without harming the fish.

  • Land the fish quickly to minimize stress.
  • Avoid putting the fish on the deck, rocks or beach and letting it float, keep it in the water as much as possible when removing the hook.
  • Wet your hand before handling the fish, dry hands remove the viscous protective layer of the fish and leave it open to infection,
  • Handle the fish with care. Do not use excessive force when gripping the fish. Do not put your fingers in the gill cavities or eye sockets.
  • Carefully remove the hook to minimize damage.
  • Use lures with a single hook, barbless hooks (remove them from treble hooks) or circle hooks (as shown above).
  • Quickly return the fish to the water. Gently place the fish in the water in a horizontal vertical position. Move it back and forth in the water to force the water through its gills. Once the fish has come to life, let it go away.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass / blue fish.

Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said: “The striped bass bite at Block Island North Rip and south of the island has been good. The trolling tube and worm seems to work for anglers. And, in creeks and estuaries we have worm outbreaks happening all over the place and some keepers are caught there as well. “We had about 30 boats fishing the upper Providence River on Saturday morning. Most hung up poggies and put them down. Anglers used clams and worms with success. A customer caught a 42-inch striped bass from the shore at Kettle Point this weekend. And now we also have good sized blue fish caught in the river, ”said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said: “Billy Silvia, a commercial fisherman from Bristol, RI, caught a 56 pound striped bass last Thursday while fishing in the East Passage with chucks. Guardian sized fish in the slot from 28 to under 35 inches and larger fish are caught from Bristol as they sail up the Providence River. The Ferrara family of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said: “Anglers catch slot-limit striped bass on the Newport and Jamestown bridges with patrons hooking up with decent-sized blue fish off Godard Park , Warwick. “


the spring season ended in Rhode Island on May 31. The season is still open in Massachusetts for a fish.

Black scup / bar.

“Scup fishing in the eastern passage of Narragansett Bay has been good as far as Colt State Park, Bristol and off Barrington, but the scup bite was not strong further north of the river,” said Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. The black bass season is still closed in Rhode Island. “Customers go to Buzzards Bay to fish for scup and bass because the season is open there and the bass fishing is good,” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle.

Squeteague (weak fish).

The squeteague bite continues to be strong in Greenwich Bay. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said: “It has been the best spring squeteague season in many years, the pink and green metal lures work well.” Rhode Island’s low fish limit is one fish / person / day, minimum size 18 inches.

“Summer plaice

The bite (fluke) was good along the south coast of the beaches in about 30 feet of water, with the bite on the southeast side of Block Island also being good in about 70 feet of water, ”said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s license and a charter fishing license. He sits on various boards and commissions and owns a consulting business focused on ocean cleanliness, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries issues and clients. Send fishing news and photos to [email protected] or visit

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