Jaws Clenched on Both Sides as Protests Meet Shark Fishers

The 22nd annual two-day monster shark tournament in Oak Bluffs ended Saturday with a total of 27 sharks caught and submitted, the largest of which was a 399-pound thresher. The team on the Waterbury caught the shark Friday, beating the other 200 boats in the tournament. Their prize was an $80,000 boat.

Three Years Into Moratorium, Island Herring Runs Still Slow

Herring are harbingers of spring. The first of them usually appear in Island waters now. But there is serious concern about the health of the fishery across the region.

Although Massachusetts is in the third year of a moratorium on the harvesting of these small fish, the fishery has failed to rebound. Fishing prohibitions are also in place in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Also known as alewives and river herring, these anadromous fish make a pilgrimage every spring into coastal estuaries, to spawn in the freshwater pond where they themselves were created.

Ocean Suffers When Menhaden Go Missing

Overfishing may be the buzz word on the waterfront to explain the decline of many stocks of fish around Vineyard waters, but it isn’t heard often enough when it comes to explaining the loss of bait fish.

On Wednesday night at the Chilmark Public Library, a lone man stood before an audience of anglers and commercial fishermen to report the worst environmental tale needing to be told is the loss of one of the most valued forage fish in the ocean, which used to swim in abundance in these waters but is almost gone — menhaden.

Anonymous Donor Buys Painting for Island Museum


A painting of a well-known Menemsha-based trawler by Heather Neill has been given to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum by an anonymous donor. The eight by four-foot painting, titled Strider’s Surrender, evokes the decline the local fishing industry.

The Quitsa Strider II is owned by respected Island fishermen Jonathan Mayhew. In a move symbolic of the dire state of the local fishing industry, Mr. Mayhew sold his federal permits last year, giving up his license and putting up the vessel itself for sale.

The Fishermen

Island waters are filled with bluefish, especially now. Striped bass fishing is sketchy and the bonito are only now arriving, but for Vineyard and Nantucket commercial and recreational anglers, there is one certainty: the bluefish are here.

Capt. Tom Mleczko of Nantucket reports bluefishing is good this summer for him, as good as it was last year. He fishes in a 29-foot Hawk called Priscilla J.

Town Shellfisherman Avoids Suspension of Scallop License

Edgartown selectmen voted not to suspend the commercial scalloping license of fisherman Richard Morris Monday, going against the recommendation of the shellfish committee at a heated public hearing.

Activist Urges Island Fishermen to Regain Control of Fisheries

A former commissioner of marine resources in the state of Maine recently told a gathering of Island fishermen that there is plenty they can do to regain control of the troubled fisheries in Massachusetts.

Robin Alden spoke at the Chilmark Public Library earlier this month about how fishermen need to come together on the local level and step forward as a concerned group.

“Even in a small community like this, I think it can work,” she said, though she added: “You are not going to win overnight.”

The Fishermen


Memorial Day weekend on the waterfront comes early this year and the fish seem to know it. Bluefish, striped bass and all the right fish already are here and even more fish are arriving.

The prevailing word on the waterfront is that the best is yet to come. The seasonal migration below the surface that began well over a month ago is still underway.

The Fishermen


The Island fishing season arrives in June. There are enthusiasts who will go out in April or May and catch some nice fish, but they are only preparing for what happens in June.

Now the striped bass and bluefish are here, along with fishing tournaments.

Four Vineyard fishing tournaments are scheduled this month and two of them are this weekend. They are the Pink Squid Yacht Club tournament and the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club’s catch and release tournament.

The Fishermen


The 27th annual John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament made a lot of money for the Genesis Fund last weekend, and not all the draw was the celebrities who attended. Much of it had to do with good fishing, and that success was tied to Vineyard and Nantucket fishermen.

With the final numbers still being worked out, the long weekend event on the Vineyard grossed at least $340,000, slightly more than last year. The gathering included a live and silent auction at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown.