The state advisory commission that manages saltwater fisheries in our waters, under the Massachusetts State Division of Marine Fisheries, will hold a meeting Thursday, May 10, 11 a.m. at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in the Tisbury Town Hall. It is rare for the commission to meet here — they meet nine times a year and almost always on the mainland. The director of the division, Paul Diodati, will also attend along with the commissioners and division staff.
There are a number of issues that are particularly relevant to the Vineyard.
The commission is looking into lengthening the commercial striped bass season. Last summer, the season opened on July 12 and was closed 18 fishing days later, on August 8, when the million-plus-pound quota was reached. Lots of fish were caught early off Chatham. Jared Silva, of the state division, said fishermen and seafood dealers want some kind of management regimen that would allow the season to go at least last through the summer. Though the changes won’t take place this year, the commission seeks input on what steps might be taken to more evenly spread the season through the season.
The commission is also looking at adopting new, more restrictive measures in the conch fishery to prevent overfishing. For landings at the dock, conch is the Vineyard’s largest and highest paying fishery.
Warren Doty, president of the Martha’s Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen’s Association, said this week he sees this meeting as an important one for local fishermen, especially since the commission is meeting here.