Striped Bass Index Drops, Anxiety Rises

Striped bass, the Vineyard’s most valued fish, is struggling.

A new report shows the number of striped bass spawned in the Chesapeake Bay this year was the lowest seen in well over a decade — and fishermen along the Eastern seaboard, alarmed that striped bass may be overfished, are raising concerns about the future of the fishery.

Fisher Poet

Students at the Tisbury School this week had the opportunity to hear the poetry of a fisherman.

Dave Densmore, of Kodiak, Alas., and Astoria, Ore., was a featured speaker for fifth and sixth graders. He came as a guest in the middle of a whirlwind tour on the East Coast.

On Wednesday evening Mr. Densmore was a featured speaker at a forum on fishing at the Chilmark Public Library.

Ferrying Fish

Alec Gale had a great summer. With the economic engine in the country not powering, his entrepreneurship is helping to propel the Island’s oldest industry; Mr. Gale helped a number of Menemsha-based commercial fishermen make a living this summer.

Commercial Season Closes for Bluefish, Striped Bass

Two of the most popular recreational fish will soon be off limits to commercial fishermen. The commercial bluefish season ends tomorrow. The commercial striped bass season ends on Tuesday.

This is the first time Massachusetts fisheries managers are closing the commercial season on bluefish. Using landing data, the state estimates the 516,619-pound quota for bluefish in the state will be taken by tomorrow. Fish markets may carry the fish beyond the date, but it won’t be for long.

Striped Bass and Bluefish Are Here

The Island fishing season arrives in June. There are enthusiasts who will go out in April or May and catch some nice fish, but they are only preparing for what happens in June.

Early Anglers Will Get the Fish at Annual Trout Tournament

The best time to catch fish during tomorrow morning’s trout tournament is early, at its beginning.

The 34th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club’s trout tournament is free for youngsters 14 years of age and younger. As many as 200 youngsters are expected to show up to the shores of Duarte’s Pond, off Lambert’s Cove in West Tisbury.

The tournament starts early, before sunrise, and concludes at 10 a.m.

Jaws Clenched on Both Sides as Protests Meet Shark Fishers

The 22nd annual two-day monster shark tournament in Oak Bluffs ended Saturday with a total of 27 sharks caught and submitted, the largest of which was a 399-pound thresher. The team on the Waterbury caught the shark Friday, beating the other 200 boats in the tournament. Their prize was an $80,000 boat.

Three Years Into Moratorium, Island Herring Runs Still Slow

Herring are harbingers of spring. The first of them usually appear in Island waters now. But there is serious concern about the health of the fishery across the region.

Although Massachusetts is in the third year of a moratorium on the harvesting of these small fish, the fishery has failed to rebound. Fishing prohibitions are also in place in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Also known as alewives and river herring, these anadromous fish make a pilgrimage every spring into coastal estuaries, to spawn in the freshwater pond where they themselves were created.

Ocean Suffers When Menhaden Go Missing

Overfishing may be the buzz word on the waterfront to explain the decline of many stocks of fish around Vineyard waters, but it isn’t heard often enough when it comes to explaining the loss of bait fish.

On Wednesday night at the Chilmark Public Library, a lone man stood before an audience of anglers and commercial fishermen to report the worst environmental tale needing to be told is the loss of one of the most valued forage fish in the ocean, which used to swim in abundance in these waters but is almost gone — menhaden.

Anonymous Donor Buys Painting for Island Museum


A painting of a well-known Menemsha-based trawler by Heather Neill has been given to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum by an anonymous donor. The eight by four-foot painting, titled Strider’s Surrender, evokes the decline the local fishing industry.

The Quitsa Strider II is owned by respected Island fishermen Jonathan Mayhew. In a move symbolic of the dire state of the local fishing industry, Mr. Mayhew sold his federal permits last year, giving up his license and putting up the vessel itself for sale.