Shark Release Ballot Question Passes

Oak Bluffs voted in favor of catch-and-release shark tournaments, West Tisbury approved a new police station and Edgartown approved two spending projects during annual town elections last week. Voter turnout was sparse, between nine and 13 per cent, and few races were contested. Oak Bluffs voters approved a nonbinding referendum that would make shark tournaments in town catch and release only by a margin of 225 to 186.

The annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament, which offers prizes for the largest shark caught, is held at the Oak Bluffs harbor every summer.

Catch Reduced For Menhaden

In what fisheries experts are calling an historic measure to curb overfishing, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted late last week to reduce the fishing of menhaden by 20 per cent in the coming year.

The 20 per cent reduction takes effect July 1, 2013.

Fishing Permit the Main Catch in Viking Purchase

With the sale of Viking, a 40-foot fishing boat that has plied the waters off the Vineyard for three generations, the Island’s once-vibrant fleet of small wooden draggers is now at the brink of extinction.

Craig Coutinho of Vineyard Haven confirmed this week that he will sell Viking along with his fishing permits.

Annual Index Shows Striped Bass Young at All-Time Low

Juvenile striped bass spawned in the Chesapeake Bay were at a record low at the end of the summer. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently completed its annual young of the year survey and found far fewer juvenile fish than a year ago.

Scientists believe the factors are more tied to unusually warm weather conditions in the Chesapeake than to the number of adult fish spawning in the bay.

Menhaden Harvest as Fish Oil Jeopardizes Ocean Food Chain

For centuries, probably millennia, the small, oily fish known as Atlantic menhaden have been the protein-filled food of choice for striped bass and many other large species in our waters. Fishermen call them pogeys or bunker, often using them as bait to entice stripers to their lines. Menhaden were once so abundant that early Americans spoke of them swimming in schools upwards of 25 miles long.

Big Enough to Fish, Smaller Than Biggest Fish

Down at the Menemsha docks on an early October evening, a regular is out casting into the harbor. He’s dressed for the occasion in red rubber boots and rain pants and a bright yellow rain jacket. His blue derby hat is decked with four pins — one with his derby number, two daily bluefish award pins, and one junior angler pin.

And of course five-year-old Grady Keefe of Menemsha is wearing his faded yellow life jacket.

Fatal Attraction

There is endless fascination about sharks, and the Monster Shark Tournament staged annually every July by the Boston Big Game Fishing Club has long been an attraction for people of all stripes — shark lovers, scientists, protesters and the just plain curious. For two days at the height of summer, Oak Bluffs is transformed as huge crowds pour in to witness the spectacle.

West Tisbury Fishermen Land Giant Tuna

Although recreational fishing dominates Island chatter with the derby on this month, talk up and down Squid Row in Menemsha on Tuesday afternoon was of a decidedly commercial catch.


No Bait, No Weight, No Problem, Fly Fisherman Enjoy the Derby

David Nash of Edgartown was in the process of explaining how artificial fly lures are made when a neighboring fisherman’s rod bowed toward the water. A distinct whirring sound zipped through the air and the angler’s line raced out into Edgartown Harbor.

Mr. Nash looked up.

“That’s the sound of an albie.”

Commercial Bluefish Season Ends

The commercial season for bluefish ended on Wednesday. The closure came when fisheries experts determined that the 2012 annual commercial Massachusetts quota of 692,986 pounds was taken.