Fewer Fishermen, More Fluke, Season Fails to Hit State Quota

There apparently is a lot more Vineyard sole left to be fished.

For the first time, Massachusetts commercial fishermen failed this year to reach their quota for harvesting fluke. As a result, the commercial fluke fishery, which normally closes by the end of the summer, is still open.

Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, called it a “success story.” But local fishermen said the facts are more complicated.

Octoberfish Comes to a Windy Close

Results are in from Octoberfish, a fishing contest sponsored by Larry’s Tackle Shop after the annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

Jeff Komarinetz caught the biggest striped bass from a boat on Oct. 19. The fish weighed 26.85 pounds and was caught from a kayak.

Tony Rezendes Jr., caught the largest shore striped bass on the first day of the month. The fish weighed 25.79 pounds.

The Last Lobsterman of Cuttyhunk

Menhaden were back in Cuttyhunk harbor this summer, and that was good news to Capt. Bruce Borges. Pogies, as they are called, make great bait for catching striped bass. As a lobsterman, Captain Borges, 74, hasn’t seen much good news along the waterfront in recent years. There are fish out there but it’s a different story for lobsters, and that has made this summer especially challenging for Mr. Borges, who calls himself the last lobsterman on Cuttyhunk.

Fishing’s Impact on Oceans Comes Into Sharp Focus With Photographer

The world’s oceans need protection, a globe-traveling National Geographic underwater photographer told a large audience at the Tabernacle last Saturday.

After 35 years of photographing the oceans, Brian Skerry, 49, said he is troubled by growing evidence of degradation of habitat and the waste and loss of sea life. “I think the oceans are dying a death of a thousand cuts,” he said.

If Life Gives You No Lobsters, Make Oysters the Aquaculture Way

M. Emmett Carroll Jr. has seen change on the waterfront, from the days when lobsters were bountiful to now when they seem scarce. He has kept his faith by dancing with new ideas, shifting his attention to raising oysters. He runs Menemsha Oysters, pretty much a one-man aquaculture operation which involves raising and harvesting some of the Island’s tastiest oysters.

No Rod, No Reel, No Problem

An Aquinnah resident caught two bluefish by hand at the end of the day last Saturday. Wilde Whitcomb, 31, was out walking with his sister, Gabrielle Whitcombe, in front of Zacks Cliffs at about 6 p.m., when they noticed a bluefish swimming in the surf.

Mr. Whitcomb stepped into the water and grabbed the fish by the tail. They continued to walk along the beach and found another. Mr. Whitcomb grabbed that, too.

Donald Lynch Lands Rare Weakfish

A rare weakfish was caught last Saturday night by a local angler. Donald Lynch, 43, of Vineyard Haven, said he was entirely surprised by the catch. The fish was caught from the beach at the Lagoon Pond drawbridge. “On the very first cast I hooked up a fish and when I landed it, I discovered it was a 24-and-a-half-inch, three-plus pound weakfish,” Mr. Lynch said.

He said the last time he caught a weakfish was 25 years ago.

Where Have All the Squid Gone?

Longfin inshore squid ( loligo pealeii ) may not be on the menu, but it is an important local seafood that has grown scarce.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are perplexed, wondering how a once profitable and abundant bait seems to have disappeared. Tackle shop owners can’t find enough of it. The draggers working in Nantucket Sound have had slim pickings.

The Herring Are Coming! Spring Bait Fishery Rebounds

Herring are back and the numbers are stronger compared with a year ago. Also known as alewives, herring are one of the true coastal signs of spring and considered essential bait fish in the food chain.

While the reports of numbers this spring are improved over last year, they are at best cautiously optimistic. A state moratorium prohibiting the catching of herring has been in place since 2005. The ban was a response to a dramatic drop in the numbers of fish returning in the spring of 2004 and before. Recovery has been slow, if at all, until this spring.

Breaking News: Friday, May 6 - Island Fishermen Have Close Encounter With Shark

Three Vineyard fishermen had a real-life Jaws moment on Friday morning when they encountered a great white shark circling a dead minke whale that had become tangled in lobster line in the area known as Devil’s Bridge off Aquinnah.

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