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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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

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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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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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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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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Striped Bass Index Drops, Anxiety Rises
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL

Recreational fishing doesn’t end with the derby. Although tomorrow night brings closure to the 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, don’t put the fishing rod away. The word is out, there is still plenty of fishing left in this season. The water is still warm and fall migration of big schools of stripers have yet to appear.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

The state reopened coastal ponds to shellfishing on Saturday, following a closure due to heavy rains which ended early last week. The state Division of Marine Fisheries had issued the closure to more than 30 Massachusetts towns on Sept. 29, based on the expectation that water quality in coastal ponds would diminish after three days of heavy rains.

Shellfish managers were typically concerned that road runoff would fill the ponds with excessive bacteria.

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Fisher Poet
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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