The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL

Thirty years ago, the invention of the electronic fish finder helped fishermen out in their boats find fish. Today’s great device, the computer hooked up to the Internet, helps the rest of us find fishermen who know where to find the fish.

The culture of the Internet has helped charter fishing captains just as it has helped a lot of other businesses.

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Bait Boat
Mark Alan Lovewell

Capt. Wayne Iacono and a number of other Menemsha lobstermen are having a better autumn this year because of the help of a local draggerman, Capt. Craig Coutinho of the fishing boat Viking.

“If it wasn’t for Craig we’d all be in trouble,” Captain Iacono said.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL

Rick Karney, director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, returned last week from an international conference on invasive sea squirts, where he and one of his staff were both speakers and participants.

There has been plenty of discussion on the Vineyard about invasive foreign plants in the Island landscape; offshore, the ocean bottom and the water column are also in a state of change. New plants and animals are taking up residence in coastal waters that may have a long-term impact.

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Bringing Back Cod
Mark Alan Lovewell

Important changes came last week in the effort to bring cod back to New England waters.

The New England Fishery Management Council at its meeting in Plymouth established a protective zone for juvenile cod in the Great South Channel.

While it will take up to three years to come up with protective rules for that area, the decision sets aside a portion of open ocean where it is known that undersized fish need to be protected.

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Stocks of Striped Bass Healthy, But Still the Fishermen Worry
Mike Seccombe

The striped bass is fun to catch and good to eat. It’s also enigmatic, historically prone to wild fluctuations in numbers and to inexplicable disappearances from area waters. And with the annual Island fishing derby opening Sunday, the old question is being asked again: where are all the fish?

Cooper Gilkes 3rd, an Island fisherman for more than 50 years and the owner of Coop’s Bait and Tackle in Edgartown, is concerned, for catch numbers seem to be in sharp decline.

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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.

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Sharing the Ocean
Mark Alan Lovewell

The most stressed-out fish of the sea, the false albacore, made an appearance a week ago. They scared the bonito away and now it seems as though both are absentee.

False albacore and bonito are among the fastest swimming fish of these waters from late August to October. They are a finicky warmer weather fish. It is hard to write a sentence about one without mentioning the other in the same paragraph.

But the prevailing northeast winds of the last few days have cut down on a lot of the boat fishing.

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Bluefish Ate the Sluggo
Julia Wells
Saturday night, an hour before sundown. The ferocious northeast wind from the day before has died, the only reminder a thick blanket of seaweed covering the rocky north shore. My friend and I are fishing. He has entered the derby; I have not. We trade off using two rods, one big, one small. The small rod has a sluggo, apparently the lure of choice for catching bass this year, the large one a popper.

Another lone fisherman stands in the rocks several hundred yards away. We can hear the quiet whine of his reel as he casts far out into the setting sun.

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Ferrying Fish
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

As the farmer brings in the last vegetables, in autumn the lobsterman’s season is starting to slow down.

Capt. Paul MacDonald of the lobsterboat Shearwater was putting some of his yellow-wire pots away at the dock at Menemsha Tuesday afternoon. “It was a good season, though I had to work hard to make the same amount of money as last year,” the captain said.

There is good and bad news in the stories he and others shared about his past summer.

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