Striped Bass Hearing is Postponed

Pending legislation to make striped bass a game fish in Massachusetts was further delayed this week when a public hearing was postponed at the request of backers of the bill.

The hearing by the joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture was due to be held on Tuesday on Beacon Hill, but has now been rescheduled for January.

Cape and Islands Sen. Robert O’Leary and Rep. Timothy Madden both sit on the committee.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

The commercial and recreational fluke season ended this week. Fish markets are quickly going through their supply; if you want to buy fluke check with your local market. The last fish caught commercially was landed Tuesday. The last recreational fluke was landed yesterday. Anglers now shift their attention almost exclusively to striped bass, bluefish and bonito.

The arrival of false albacore is a few weeks away.

On Saturday, there were two anglers out trying to get their limit of fluke, before the season closed.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL

Barry Clifford plans to be back in Vineyard waters. The celebrated underwater explorer, who has spent decades uncovering shipwrecks almost forgotten and who got started here on the Vineyard, has his eyes on a wreck four miles east of Cape Pogue.

His firm Vast Explorer Inc. filed papers in U.S. District Court in Boston seeking exclusive rights to salvage the Semiramis, a 120-foot, three-masted ship, one of the first of the China traders. Mr. Clifford said he wants to start diving on the wreck later this fall.

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More Than A Fluke
Mark Alan Lovewell

Local fishermen landed more than 100,000 pounds of fluke this summer at Menemsha. The landings by 10 small draggers and about five handline fishermen represents one-seventh of all the landings made in the state. The state quota for fluke was 702,614 pounds.

The report on local landings came out of a state fisheries public hearing held in Tisbury on Monday afternoon.

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Hurricane Bill
Mark Alan Lovewell

An uninvited guest named Bill was the talk of the waterfront on Wednesday afternoon.

No, this was not former President Bill Clinton, for he is welcome.

The concern was Hurricane Bill, spinning in the Atlantic as a category four hurricane, more than a thousand miles away. While forecasters appear confident the storm will stay safely at sea through the coming weekend, the storm’s significant size and power still are of concern to local mariners with big or little boats.

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Fluke Season Ends
Mark Alan Lovewell

The summer flounder, also called fluke, season is about to come to an end. The state will close the commercial season on Tuesday, August 11. The recreational season will close three days later.

Commercial fishermen cannot land any more fluke after 8 p.m. Tuesday. As of the end of last week, 85 per cent of the quota was taken in two months of fishing. The season opened on June 10 and the fishermen have had little trouble getting their 300-pound daily trip limit.

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Fish Stocks Can Rebound, Report Says
Mark Alan Lovewell

Fish can come back.

A research paper published in last Friday’s journal Science concludes that while fish stocks remain threatened by overfishing, collaboration among scientists and fisheries managers can reverse the trend.

Boris Worm, a marine ecologist with Dalhousie University in Halifax and other scientists published a report in 2006 citing evidence that if current trends continued, all commercially harvestable fish would be gone by 2048.

The Friday report in Science takes an entirely different view.

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Catching Good Times on the Skipper
Mark Alan Lovewell

Quite a few of the fishermen boarding the party fishing boat Skipper in Oak Bluffs on Wednesday morning before 8 a.m. were repeat customers. They toted their own coolers loaded with refreshments, and towels for keeping their hands clean.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL

Fishing season has finally hit its stride. And if they can keep from getting lost in the fog, anglers are finding dinner. There are reports of bonito. Striped bass are still around, although in deeper water. Somebody caught a nice bluefish in Nantucket Sound on Wednesday morning. Someone else was seen toting five gallon buckets full of black sea bass.

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Monster Shark Tournament Is Hampered by High Seas, Wind
Mark Alan Lovewell

A 361-pound porbeagle shark was the winning fish in the weekend’s 23rd annual Monster Shark Tournament in Oak Bluffs. The fish was caught by the crew of a Marshfield fishing boat called Karen Jean II. The captain of the vessel was David Dion of Galveston, Tex.; the boat owner was John Anderson of Marshfield and crewman was William Murphy of New Bedford.

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