Federal Moves Push Prices For Fishermen’s Fuel Above $3
Julia Rappaport

For the second week in a row, Chilmark selectmen on Tuesday addressed the continuing struggles of commercial fishermen on the Menemsha harborfront and the state of the town fishing industry.

A number of fishermen, members of the shellfish advisory committee and the town harbor master turned out to discuss rising fuel prices and hear a plan to survey the biology of Menemsha Pond in an effort to enhance fish stock.

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Owner of Quitsa Strider in Menemsha Sells His Fishing Rights, Ending an Era
Mark Alan Lovewell

One of Menemsha’s most respected fishermen, Jonathan Mayhew, has quit fishing the high seas.

Mr. Mayhew recently sold his federal permits, giving up his license to ply the offshore waters of Georges Bank for cod, flounder and other fish.

A Vineyard native who grew up in a family of generations of fishermen, Mr. Mayhew, 56, said a chapter has closed in his life. He said he worries now for the future of young local fishermen facing current fishing rules.

The changes that have come down are killing the fisherman and not necessarily saving fish, he said.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL

THE MOST IMPORTANT FISH IN THE SEA, by H. Bruce Franklin. Island Press / Shearwater Books, Washington, 2007, 266 pages.

Eleven years ago, a group of Island fishermen went to Sandwich to attend a public hearing on the management of striped bass. We all sat in an overcrowded auditorium and listened. One commercial lobsterman stood before the regulators and complained too many striped bass were eating his lobsters and ruining his fishery.

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Wasque Rips Churn, and Anglers Rejoice in Bluefish Bonanza
Mark Alan Lovewell

The bluefish are in. For at least one fisherman, the arrival was like an old-fashioned Wasque bluefish blitz.

On Monday, Ed Amaral drove to Chappaquiddick to get his line wet and perhaps catch the first bluefish of the season. While he didn't get the first one, he certainly got more than he expected.

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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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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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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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