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Commercial - Recreational - Conservation Issues An open forum for the exchange of ideas and positions on current and proposed regulations in saltwater fishing and conservation.

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  #1  
Old 04-29-2007, 10:10 PM
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Bob D'Amico Bob D'Amico is offline
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Exclamation Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island
By RAY HENRY

April 28, 2007, 12:02 PM EDT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The menhaden is a lowly fish. An ignoble member of the herring family, it sits near the bottom of the food chain and is prized more as fertilizer and oil than for the bony meat on its foot-long body.

But a proposal in Rhode Island's General Assembly to ban netting the fish in Narragansett Bay is pitting recreational fishermen who believe a ban will help rebuild stocks of striped bass against lobstermen who use menhaden to bait their traps.

At least seven states on the Atlantic coast have already taken similar steps, including New Hampshire and Connecticut in New England.

The bill being considered by lawmakers would ban boats from using purse seines, or giant nets, to scoop up thousands of menhaden at a time for sale as bait. Recreational fishermen accuse these commercial boats of destroying a food source that sustains life in Narragansett Bay, and say menhaden improve the water quality by eating the plankton that cause toxic algae blooms.

Commercial fishermen say a ban dressed up as conservationism is really just a conflict over who gets to use Narragansett Bay, the watery center of Rhode Island.

"They don't want us in the bay fishing, they don't want us sharing the fish," said Gerald Souza, owner of Ark Bait in Fall River, Mass., the only company now licensed to net menhaden in Rhode Island waters.

The menhaden industry was worth $62 million nationwide in 2005, according to the last statistics available from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Menhaden live from Nova Scotia to Florida. After spawning in shelf waters, schools of young Atlantic menhaden drift into coastal estuaries like Narragansett Bay and grow. They leave by winter, generally migrating along the coastline.

Besides striped bass, bluefish, sea trout and tuna snack on menhaden from the sea while herons and eagles pluck them from the air.

Scientists say getting a good menhaden count is difficult because the fish migrate so rapidly. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates menhaden, reports that stocks are generally healthy, but it's preparing a study to detect local problem areas.

Key environmental officials in Rhode Island see no crisis.

"We're quite confident there are no major warning bells," said Robert Ballou, chief of staff of the Department of Environmental Management.

Still, one DEM analysis suggests that adult striped bass are leaner than before, which could mean they can't find enough menhaden to eat. That troubles Stephen Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association.

Rhode Island doesn't regulate how many menhaden can be caught for bait, and Medeiros' group has pushed regulators to change those rules over two decades without success.

"There's always a stall," he said. "There's never a solution."

Tired of waiting, Medeiros and his supporters are taking their case directly to lawmakers and applying pressure. In just six days, they gathered more than 11,000 signatures on a petition supporting the ban.

Lobstermen like Dennis Ingram, who fishes out of Newport, call that tactic an unfair shortcut. He says fishing policy should be set by dedicated regulatory bodies that include fishermen and scientists, not at the Statehouse.

"In my mind, it's a fish grab more than anything," he said. "It's a user conflict."

Ingram said he worries lobstermen will get pinched in the wallet if the bill passes. He uses five types of fish as bait. All except menhaden are considered overfished and subject to catch limits, which cut down on supply and can drive up prices.

In 2002, Ingram spent $14,000 on bait, he said. Four years later, that amount more than doubled to $30,000.

"That all comes from my profit," he said. "If they get away with this, we'll be an endangered species."

Worried about their bottom line, the lobstermen have pressured their own allies in the General Assembly.

Both sides say they're willing to compromise rather than have the General Assembly impose a solution that neither side will like.

Medeiros, of the anglers association, said he wants a cap on menhaden fishing, or at least restrictions that guarantee more menhaden will survive. Souza says his bait company is willing to consider ceding some of the bay to recreational fishermen, as it has done in the past.

The environmental group Save the Bay is helping to broker a possible compromise. John Torgan of the group said he was hopeful they could come up with a solution before House and Senate committees take action on the menhaden bills.
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2007, 05:00 AM
pogyman pogyman is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

Funny that there is a problem now- why wasn't there a problem back when there were several boats working in R.I., including reduction vessels??

Smells like a fish grab to me- and I don't even like ARK bait- they were my competition for years.
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Old 05-05-2007, 07:54 PM
son of the sea son of the sea is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

Well correct me if I am wrong, not only are the menhaden an important food source for many migratory species they are also filter feeders which means larger schools of menhaden = cleaner waters!
Cleaner water will draw additional game fish into the area?

Quote:
"purse seines, or giant nets, to scoop up thousands of menhaden at a time"

What kind of impact do you think the purse seines fisheries and the likes have on our environment?

They are erraticating the species of fish we are fishing for right now!
With no regard of our sons and daughter that may want to fish in the future.

Can anyone remember the weak fish days? They were a dime a dozen until the netters got a hold of them!

Now that the stripe bass are plentiful or a dime a dozen they want to net them again(not that aren't already netting them and killing thousands in the process) I could go on and on...............where does it end?

It is up to every individual to step up to the plate and help preserve our fisheries!!!
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:21 AM
Number5 Number5 is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Originally Posted by son of the sea View Post
Can anyone remember the weak fish days? They were a dime a dozen until the netters got a hold of them!
Sure do. Apparently the dolphins are eating them all.
I like the cover of the last edition of the fisherman. The one entitled "This is fluke management????"
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2007, 10:44 PM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Originally Posted by son of the sea View Post
Well correct me if I am wrong,

What kind of impact do you think the purse seines fisheries and the likes have on our environment?

They are erraticating the species of fish we are fishing for right now!
With no regard of our sons and daughter that may want to fish in the future.
ARK BAIT has very little impact on ANYTHING in the bay. they are a family run , small time operation that has every right to be there. its just more RECREATIONAL GREED AND IGNORANCE with the IM A REC AND WANT IT ALL !!!!!!!!!! the sad thing is striped bass drives this evil engine called recreational STUPIDITY.......if the recs really cared about the bunker stocks they would push for limited entry in the fishery,,,and maybe a nice IFQ would be good too depending on previous history.......if they kick ARK outa the bay then they should KICK FISHING POLES OUT OF THE BAY TOO!!!!!!
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:49 PM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Originally Posted by son of the sea View Post
Can anyone remember the weak fish days? They were a dime a dozen until the netters got a hold of them!

I could go on and on..............

I COULD GO ON AND ON TOO,,,,,,, i remember the glory days.....if your a rec its the easy way out,,,,,,THE NETS DID IT!! face the facts......fishing poles driven by billiuons of recs has NO IMPACT on anything,,,,its just those evil nets.......
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  #7  
Old 05-12-2007, 01:54 PM
son of the sea son of the sea is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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ARK BAIT has very little impact on ANYTHING in the bay.
Except for the fish population!!!
Quote:
face the facts......fishing poles driven by billiuons of recs has NO IMPACT on anything,,,,its just those evil nets.......
Well if you say so! I think the recs have a small impact on the fisheries but not even close to the scale of the commercial impact on the fisheries.
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Old 05-13-2007, 09:35 AM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Originally Posted by son of the sea View Post
Well if you say so! I think the recs have a small impact on the fisheries but not even close to the scale of the commercial impact on the fisheries.

I 100% DISS AGREE.......the billions of fishing poles are like loose cannons which are NOT regulated. every time the recs get a little dose of regulations the senators step in. NMFS runs the commercial fleet now,,,but one of NMFS problems is that the recs have too much influence on them,,,and NMFS still dont understand the word BALLANCE...........when you shut down 2 major fisheries like dog sharks and striped bass and let the species run rampid,,,,,what do you think going to happen to the weakfish,,,,not to even mention the power plants and every other factor.......but its socially acceptable to screw the weakfish population so the striped bass can flourish,,,and then the recs say go wipe out the dogs because their tired of loosing their bait.........

another thing which NMFS or any other EVIL REC GROUP isnt seeing is what just happened to area 1 A.... they just shut down a major herring area,,,in which doing that they just opened up a HUGE bait market. its going to have a big impact on the bunker stocks because the bunker fishery ISNT REGULATED YET........AND YOU ALL ARE WORRIED ABOUT ARK BAIT.....it just makes me shake my head
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Old 05-13-2007, 09:47 AM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

all the recs out there should be FIGHTING for ARKS right to fish the bay.....the next time your sitting down to a nice lobster dinner it might not be on the menu or will cost more to eat. if you were really concerned about the bunker stocks it wouldnt take much to see that ARK or ARK fishing the bay ISNT THE PROBLEM.....bunker has no boundries,,,,,they just take up residence in the bay for a short while,,,,but if it isnt under the recs noses they dont see it....its a POOR way to manage anything driven by RECREATIONAL STUPIDITY!!!!!
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:47 PM
GravyBoat GravyBoat is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Originally Posted by BENTROD View Post
another thing which NMFS or any other EVIL REC GROUP isnt seeing is what just happened to area 1 A.... they just shut down a major herring area,,,in which doing that they just opened up a HUGE bait market. its going to have a big impact on the bunker stocks because the bunker fishery ISNT REGULATED YET........AND YOU ALL ARE WORRIED ABOUT ARK BAIT.....it just makes me shake my head
And the whole premise of allowing a very select few harvest something that has a bigger benefit for "Billions" (as you say) Recs makes me want to "shake my head". Not to mention the cleaner water which benefits not only Recs but anyone else who would like to enjoy a non-redtide bay. But your right, we should continue the practice of letting very few get rich off a resource that everyone can enjoy.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:01 PM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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we should continue the practice of letting very few get rich off a resource that everyone can enjoy.
i don't know any bunker fishermen that are getting rich off bunker.when i was in the bunker business it almost bankrupted me.. when you go have a lobster dinner you could thank ARK , because he is the one supplying the bait to catch those lobsters. ARK is an easy target for the recs.
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:09 PM
GravyBoat GravyBoat is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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Originally Posted by BENTROD View Post
i don't know any bunker fishermen that are getting rich off bunker.when i was in the bunker business it almost bankrupted me.. when you go have a lobster dinner you could thank ARK , because he is the one supplying the bait to catch those lobsters. ARK is an easy target for the recs.
So you mean to tell me ARK does it for non-profit just out of the good will to provide the lobster fisherman with low cost bait so all of the commoners can eat low cost lobster. Well, then since he is such a good samaritin then he will not mind not catching them so the bay can keep the filter feeders in it and we can enjoy cleaner water for years to come. Its a good thing we have all of these companies that will bankrupt themselves while destroying something just to aid other fisherman. I think your right, ARK would definatly be better off doing something much more profitable like landscaping or something. Good call, your wisdom abounds.
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:30 AM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

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since he is such a good samaritin then he will not mind not catching them so the bay can keep the filter feeders in it and we can enjoy cleaner water for years to come. .
BLAME it on ARK.......thats what the recs are GOOD at,,,, POINTING THE FINGER at every one else besides them selves,,,,,,,the other guy did it , or its the other guys fault.....its SILLY to think that ARK is to blame for RED tide or any other pollution problems,,,,IT SOUNDS GOOD THOUGH doesnt it??? first RISSA said that the lobster men wanted them out too....i didn't believe that for one new York second, and then later i read different.....its the ALMIGHTY PRECIOUS STRIPED BASS that is leading this crusade, and the fact that ARK is an easy target.first NARA bay, then RARITAN, and DELAWARE bay here we come. it has a nasty snowball effect. I for one want to see some menhaden regulations,,,,the way it is now the market regulates how many you can catch. i think its needed because your going to have more pressure than ever on them in the coming years because of everything else,,BUT KICKING ARK OUT OF THE BAY ISN'T THE WAY TO GO ABOUT IT! remember whatever happens UP stream has an effect on whats DOWN stream, and NARA bay in this case is DOWN STREAM
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:02 PM
River Rat River Rat is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

Maybe ARK can go fish for Whiting... or maybe they could open another business... or get a job.

Buggy whips were a great $$$ maker back in the day but evil recs and their cars ruined that.

Are they limited to Bunker only for some reason? It almost bankrupt Bentrod after all. Maybe this is just the thing to help Ark out of the downward spiral.

A few billion less killin sprees and a few billion less nets might be a good thing after all....


just my 2 cents
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  #15  
Old 09-18-2007, 04:27 PM
GravyBoat GravyBoat is offline
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Default Re: Fight over small fish causes big uproar in Rhode Island

I still don't understand why ARK fishes for a fish that bankrupts fisherman. Why would anyone do that?

Also, if you are fishing for bunker and it bankrupts you, doesn't that make you a Rec?
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