Governor Patrick Seeks Disaster Relief for Fishing Industry

Responding to Gov. Deval Patrick’s plea this week for federal disaster relief for Massachusetts commercial fishermen, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Commerce said that it remains committed to the fishery and is reviewing the governor’s request.

The Fishermen

Nelson C. Smith, 87, has had plenty of water pass under his keel. And observed many sharks off his bow. The retired Edgartown charter fishing captain, who has had many jobs on the waterfront, predicts an increase in shark sightings in Vineyard waters. As long as the seal population continues to rise around the Vineyard, Mr. Smith said he believes the seal’s worse predator, the great white shark, will also increase, as it seems to have done around Nantucket and certain areas of Cape Cod, according to recent reports. “More seals are showing up at Muskeget Channel.

The Fishermen

The American eel is in trouble. So says James Prosek, author of a widely- respected book on eels. Last week Mr. Prosek told the Vineyard Gazette that he thinks, “absolutely,” that the American eel should be listed as endangered.

Young, Tagged Flounders Released

Close to 5,000 tagged juvenile winter flounder will be released this week into Nashaquitsa Pond, following a two-year federally-funded study. Last week, crews involved in the project at the Wampanoag tribe’s hatchery overlooking Menemsha Pond spent two days tagging the fish they had raised in the hatchery since last spring. Each fish measured less than two inches in length.

Gone Fishing

As if on cue for the sixty-seventh Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the fish are running again.

There was a bluefish feeding frenzy at the Cape Pogue gut late one afternoon last week, one of those churning blitzes where you could throw out an old shoe and catch a fish. And out on Nantucket Sound, boats have been lined up like summer traffic at Five Corners as fishermen chase the silvery schools of bonito now flashing through the cooling saltwater. There are reports of stripers being caught on the north shore.

When Night Falls

Night fishing is one of the hidden pleasures of the Vineyard. Travel along the beach during a bright sunny day and there are a few anglers out there trying to catch the big one. Visit the same place, hours later at night, and there is a community of quiet fishermen. The beach may seem eerie at night, but there is a lot of good fishing going on. And sometimes it yields some surprises.

Marine Medicine

When Vineyard physician Michael E. Jacobs teamed up with his friend, Dr. Eric A. Weiss, to write a book on marine medicine over five years ago, boating got safer for a lot of sailors. Boaters bought it and stowed it away with their box of bandages and antiseptic. It was a great addition to the required first aid kit.

The book enables all who sail or motor in boats to feel as though they have some expertise onboard to deal with medical situations.

Cod Woes

It is indeed bad news to see that cod, once the most abundant fish in our waters, continues to have a hard time. Despite huge efforts on the part of fishermen and scientists to come up with a mix of fishing and conservation, the stocks continue to have problems recovering from historically-low numbers.

Scup Fishery Proposal Stirs Sharp Criticism; Unfair to Youngsters

There is a proposal before federal and state fisheries managers that will make it a crime to possess scup next summer. If the regulation is adopted, youngsters all along the Atlantic seaboard won't be allowed to keep their catch.

New Initiatives in Vineyard Waterways Give Needed Boost to Herring Fishery

For generations, the arrival of the herring at coastal ponds has been the Island's harbinger of spring. Now, major initiatives are under way across the Island to enhance waterways for the returning alewife.

This week, work began and is almost complete on the construction of a fish ladder at the head of Lake Tashmoo.