Seasonal Changes

There is a seasonal change on the water this week. Atlantic bonito are showing up in greater numbers just south of the Island and false albacore are only a few weeks away. There are also more stories of tuna.

Steve Morris of Dick’s Bait and Tackle Shop had an early birthday present on Monday. Mr. Morris turns 50 years-old next Thursday and to celebrate he went offshore fishing with Greg Lee. They went on Mr. Lee’s boat, Sea Ox II, and caught long-fin albacore and one 40-pound wahoo.

Petition Calls for Drastic Cuts to Striped Bass Fishing Limits

As many as 800 Massachusetts anglers have signed a petition seeking additional steps to conserve striped bass from overfishing. The petition calls for a 50 per cent reduction of both commercial and recreational efforts. As many as 30 Vineyarders signed the petition online according to Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever, a Maine-based organization.

New Permits Could Restore Lost Swordfishing Tradition

It was once a symbol of the Island and a principal fish landed on the docks. Swordfish weighing hundreds of pounds were hauled in from Menemsha, Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. They lined the docks and fish markets; their tails nailed to the walls of fish shacks bore testament to the fishery’s success. As some fishermen tell it, swordfish were once so abundant they were seen within miles of the shore, as close as Squibnocket and Dogfish Bar.

But those days have long since disappeared.

Antlerless Deer Permits

The Dukes County office will be selling antlerless deer permits for the hunting season this year. The county commissioners voted at their meeting Wednesday for the county to become an authorized vendor for hunting licenses. In addition to doe permits, the county office will sell all licenses, permits and stamps available from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, including fishing, hunting or sporting licenses, recreational lobster permits and saltwater fishing permits.

Fishing Licenses

Recreational saltwater fishermen in Massachusetts likely will be required to have a fishing license beginning next year.

That word came from Paul Diodati, the director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, who came to the Island last week and spoke at the Chilmark Public Library.

Mr. Diodati was joined by John Pappalardo, chairman of the New England Fishery Management Council. The council oversees many fish stocks that swim in federal waters south and east of the Vineyard.

Fishermen Face Licensing Law

Vineyard saltwater recreational anglers are expressing mixed feelings about an unprecedented requirement that they’ll need a license next year when they fish.

“I hate it. I wish it didn’t happen,” said Janet Messineo, an avid recreational fisherman who also is president of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association, said about the new rule.

Aquinnah Sanctions Scallopers Without Permits, Debates Costs

Two commercial bay scallopers in Aquinnah are facing punishment for fishing without a permit in November. Selectmen voted at their Dec. 14 meeting to fine George Baird $200 for scalloping two days on Menemsha Pond without a license, but referred a complaint against Wilde Whitcomb to town counsel.

Fishing Permit Extension

Fishing Permit Extension

The Division of Marine Fisheries has extended 2011 commercial fishing and dealer permits through January 31, 2012. New permits will be required on February 1. Permit holders must submit all outstanding 2011 monthly trip-level reports in order to receive a new permit. Going forward, permit holders who do not comply with 2012 reporting requirements may be unable to renew their licenses or may be subject to fines.

No License, No Derby: Officials Toe Line on Saltwater Permits

Two fishermen participating in the 66th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby had their leading fish pulled from the contest on Monday, for not registering for a state saltwater fishing license. While the derby officials are not disqualifying the fishermen or sharing their names, the organization hopes that anglers participating in the contest get the message. To fish in the derby, anglers must comply with state and federal fishing requirements.

Permit Problem Sees Fish Disqualified from Derby

In its first enforcement of a new state fishing regulation, the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby Committee voted Monday to disqualify two division-leading fish from the tournament because the anglers that caught them did not have a state permit prior to weighing in their catch.

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