MONTI: NOAA responds to Vineyard Wind environmental impact – The Sun Chronicle

Three cheers for NOAA. They did a very detailed analysis (a 44-page letter) of Vineyard Wind’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) comments were released last week.

The letter highlights NOAA’s concern about possible negative impacts of the project on fish, fisheries and habitat. NOAA stated that the most current fishery landings and revenues were not used in the EIS analysis. Additionally, the letter said, “Related to fish and fisheries, there is limited analysis of areas of mortality, injury, and behavioral impacts, particularly spawning activity for relevant species and potential loss in catch resulting from pile driving activities.”

In my humble opinion, we need NOAA to review plans like this, as they know ocean habitat and fisheries, whereas this is not the primary focus of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Yet, the entity responsible for wind farms (BOEM) has all the authority and they only have to consult in NOAA.

So I was delighted this week when BOEM announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the commercial fishing industry, BOEM and NOAA to safeguard fish and habitat as wind farms develop.

However, the recreational fishing community was missing as partners in the MOU. No recreational fishing partners were listed as having a seat at the table in the MOU. So although the MOU is a step in the right direction, BOEM, NOAA and wind farm developers should consider incorporating recreational fishing in their planning. In some states that have wind farms developing off their shores, recreational fishing is just as important, delivering an equal or greater economic impact to the state.

The buzz at the

Saltwater Fishing Show

The New England Saltwater Fishing Show last weekend topped all past RI Convention Center attendance records. Over 16,000 people were expected to attend. A final tally will be forthcoming later this week or next.

Offshore wind and fishing regulations were the talk of the show. Ocean wind booths included Vineyard Wind (developer of the 84-turbine wind farm 14 miles off Martha’s Vineyard) and Anglers for Offshore Wind (AFOW). The AFOW advocate for ocean wind farms, as they believe clean, renewable energy is vitally important to help turn the tide on climate change. AFOW supports ocean wind as long as it is developed responsibly with fish and habitat research before, during and after construction, with an eye toward positive or negative cumulative impacts of ocean wind farms as they are developed.

My No Fluke Fishing Charters booth was located next to Vineyard Wind’s booth. Once anglers found out they would have open access to fish right up to pylons, they were supportive, claiming that pylons create structure and habitat for small and large fish.

Fishing regulations for black sea bass in Rhode Island and Massachusetts were atop the minds of a lot of anglers at the show. Greg Vespe, Flippin Out Charters mate, Aquidneck Island Striper Team president and RI Saltwater Anglers Association board member said, “Black sea bass was the big angler concern at the show. Anglers just cannot understand why the State of Rhode Island is once again proposing to start the season so late (June 24). These fish are caught in the bay by boat and shore anglers in early June, and it is often the only time they get to target black sea bass. By delaying the season once again, we are denying bay anglers the benefit of this fishery, as these fish move out of the area in July. Pushing the season back to accommodate a handful of charter and party boats so their fall season can be extended is just not right.”

The 2019 fishing regulations for recreational and commercial fishing will go before the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, including proposed balck sea bass regulations next Monday. Anglers are urged to attend. The meeting starts earlier than usual, 5:30 p.m. on Monday at Corless Auditorium at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for meeting agenda and background information.

Fishing gear and tackle trends at the show

The Saltwater Edge, top lures. From the surf, Tom Dzis of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown, RI, said, “Super Strike lures were hot at the show. The Zig Zag Darter in the new Midnight Harvest color was a good seller. Their Needlefish lure in ‘Eely’ color was a great seller too. Other top lures included Ocean Born Lures.”

Ocean Born Lures by A Band of Anglers is a fairly new company from the world’s top lure developer, Patrick Sebile. He is known in the fishing world for developing such productive lures as the Magic Swimmer and the Stick Shad.

The Saltwater Edge has a great online store that’s very easy to use, and is loaded with product at www.saltwateredge.com, or you can visit their retail store at 1037 Aquidneck Avenue, Middletown, RI.

Flippin Out Fishing Charters and Lures was at the show marketing their summer flounder (fluke) lures, charter business and demonstrating how to tautog fish using saltwater electric trolling motors (the Minn Kota Riptide line with spot lock). The new motor designs allow fresh or saltwater anglers to hover over their favorite fishing spots to hook up with hard-to-fish species like tautog.

Many of the fluke fishing lures sold by Capt. BJ Silvia, owner of Flippin Out Charters and Lures, feature a large plastic squid and large wide-gap hook on a three-way swivel. The rig has a sinker clip that makes changing out different sinker weights easy. These rigs have been some of my favorite fluke rigs for years and can be purchased at a number of bait and tackle shops in Rhode Island. Visit Flippin Out Charters and Lures at www.flippinoutchartes.com .

Snug Harbor Marina in South Kingstown, RI, is a full-serve bait and tackle shop. They had a large show presence this year as usual, with a variety of rods, reels and tackle. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “Jigging rods and reels have been very popular at the show. Anglers are interested in learning and fishing this way to mix things up. All the popular rods have been selling well … Shimano, Lamiglass and a host of others. Anglers are jigging for striped bass, tuna and other species. By far, fluke rigs have been the bestselling rigs at the show.”

Snug Harbor Marina offers customers gas or diesel fuel and a complete selection of inshore and offshore bait and tackle, along with marina supplies, seafood, groceries and a snack bar. Visit them online at http://www.snugharbormarina.com/ or visit them on Point Judith Pond at 410 Gooseberry Road, South Kingstown, RI.

Source: http://www.thesunchronicle.com/sports/local_sports/monti-noaa-responds-to-vineyard-wind-environmental-impact/article_eccc2ac7-ae4c-5b3a-9ec3-bdfbbf6b242b.html

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