Climate change impacts on East Coast fisheries are hard to figure. What will happen as temperatures rise, with ocean acidification, sea level rise, habitat degradation and the other climate factors …
Climate change impacts on East Coast fisheries are hard to figure. What will happen as temperatures rise, with ocean acidification, sea level rise, habitat degradation and the other climate factors that could impact access, fish, fishermen and fishing communities? Last week I was honored to help plan climate change scenarios at the East Coast Climate Change Scenario Planning Creation Workshop in Arlington, VA.
Seventy-five participants from commercial and recreational fishing, climate, social and fisheries scientists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, community leaders and fishery managers met for three days collaborating to imagine what the future might hold in the next twenty years.
Scenario planning is an approach that helps people and organizations prepare for uncertain futures. We cannot be sure of the precise nature of the changes to come. The planning workshop aims to produce possible scenarios or stories, then it will be a matter of selecting which ones may happen and plan for them.
The initiative is being conducted by NOAA Fisheries and its east coast partners the New England, Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils as well as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The aim of the session was not to generate and agree on solutions but to consider what challenges and opportunities we may face over the next twenty years. What will change? What will stay the same? What we expect to happen? And, what could surprise us?
The initiative is designed to prepare fishing communities and managers for an era of climate change. The next phase will be to use select scenarios to explore consequences for fishery governance and management and to consider changes that may be beneficial under a range of different future conditions.
For details on the initiative visit https://www.mafmc.org/climate-change-scenario-planning.
Baird Symposium relates key learnings
The 2022 Baird Symposium wrapped up June 24, 2022 with a reception and premiere screening of a key learnings video on Climate Impacts on Recreational Fishing and Boating. The event took place at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Key learnings from anglers, climate and fisheries scientists and non-governmental organizations that participated in the Symposium include: new abundant bait profiles in our waters attracting pelagic fish in greater numbers i.e. mahi, bluefin tuna, cobia. And, in addition to an increase of warm water fish like black sea bass and scup, and the departure of cold water fish like winter flounder and American lobster, anglers felt that migrating and spawning behavior of some species are being impacted.
For example, fishing author and kayak fishing expert Todd Corayer said, “In December we caught striped bass to 36 inches with lice on them in our coves and estuaries. These fish decided not to migrate, they were out in front in our ocean (as the lice would indicate) and when it got cold they came into our sanctuaries. I caught over a dozen nice keeper sized fish in two days. The fishing continued through January and February.”
Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Resources Center at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography hosted the event. Lead supporting sponsors were Ørsted, owners of the Block Island Wind Farm, and Ocean Conservancy. Participating organizations included the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, NOAA Fisheries Northeast Science Center, the American Saltwater Guides Association, Safe Harbor Marinas, RI Marine Trades Association, Save the Bay, and The Natures Conservancy.
Visit https://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/special-programs/baird/ for tapes of both workshops and the key learnings video which is expected to be posted in the next few days.
Striped bass and bluefish has been very good in upper Narragansett Bay in the Providence River. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Striped bass fishing in the East Passage, particularly the Providence River has been outstanding this past week. Customers are catching fish in the slot (28 to less than 35 inches) and above slot size at the Providence Hurricane Barrier, at Sabin Point both from shore and from kayaks and boats on the water. The upper reached of the River are on fire.”
One customer caught sixteen fish in one outing, most of them in the mid 20-pound range. Trolling tube & worm and liver lining or fishing chunks of Atlantic menhaden is working.” Conner Glynn of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Customers are catching striped bass and bluefin at Conimicut Point, Rocky Point and India Pont Park, Providence.” “Striped bass continues to impress with reports of nice sized bass being caught both alone the coastal shore and out at Block Island. There are even nice sized bass back in the pond where yours truly had a fish up to 27 pounds last past week,” said Declan O’Donnell of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle, Charlestown.
East End Eddie Doherty said, “The Cape Cod Canal has died down some, but nice fish are still being caught. Adam Smith from East Sandwich landed a 17-pound striper during an early morning slack tide near the east end, the only fish caught in that area. The Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Iraq used a green mac Savage to fool the linesider on the bottom.”
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing is improving. Greg Vespe, executive director of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association said, “We managed to catch fluke north and south of the Newport Bridge last week. Anglers Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (and former RI DEM Director) caught a 29-inch fluke Saturday when fishing north of the Newport Bridge. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait and Tackle, Warren, said, “The fluke bite picked up quite a bit off Newport. Anglers are catching keepers and last Friday Bob Hurricane caught a 13-pound fluke off Newport with Capt. Kurt Rivard of K & M Coastal Charters, Warren.” “Anglers re catching fluke with jigs or Rocky Pint and Warrick neck,” said Conner Glynn of the Tackle Box.
Black sea bass and scup. The scup bite is good throughout the Bay and offshore, just about anywhere there is structure like ledges and jetties and water movement. Rocky Point, Warwick; Colt Sate Park, Bristol; and Sabine Point, East Providence have a good scup bite. Black sea bass fishing for keeper size fish (16-inch minimum this year) is spotty. Larger fish ae being caught in the ocean along coastal shore and at Block Island.
Freshwater fishing remains strong in area ponds for largemouth bass. “Little Pond and Gorton Pond, Warwick are yielding nice size largemouth bass for customers,” said Conner Glynn of The Tackle Box.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com .
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