The Story of the Codfish Is Written Across 400 Years of Island History
Mark Alan Lovewell

The old wooden sailboat up on blocks inside the shed at the
Martha's Vineyard Historical Society in Edgartown doesn't
look like much.

The white lapstrake boat, less than 20 feet in length, has not been
in the water since it was brought to the society in December 1936 from
Menemsha Creek. The paint has come off in many places. There is little
chance she will ever float again.

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Managers and Fishermen Collide in Search for Answers, Solutions
Mark Alan Lovewell

The question of how cod stocks fell so low in the waters off New
England is almost as perplexing as the question of how to bring about

The favorite reason - too much fishing pressure - is
followed by other explanations, including changes in ocean temperature
and degradation of the environment. Perhaps it is a combination of these

Pinpointing the cause or causes of plummeting cod stocks is key to
their rejuvenation.

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Gone Fishing: Anglers Gear Up as Tournament Hits Milestone
Max Hart

If you need to talk to Steve Morris this weekend, you probably
won't find him working behind the counter at his store,
Dick's Bait and Tackle, in Oak Bluffs.

If you are looking to chew the fat with Patrick Jenkinson at
Up-Island Automotive in West Tisbury, you are also probably going to be
out of luck.

And if your water heater breaks and you need Steve Amaral to fix it,
you better call another plumber.

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Herring Runs Closed in Commonwealth to Protect Fishery
Mark Alan Lovewell

Concerned about a precipitous decline in herring, the state has banned their harvest in Massachusetts for the next three years.

Also known as alewives, herring is the most valued bait fish in Vineyard waters.

The closure, which affects at least 100 herring runs along the Massachusetts coast, ironically comes at a time when Vineyard towns are taking steps to revive and improve their runs.

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Cod in State of Collapse; Haddock Sees Recovery at Fabled Ocean Ground
Mark Alan Lovewell

Capt. Gregory Mayhew, a Vineyard native and lifelong resident of Chilmark, runs the 75-foot steel dragger Unicorn out of Menemsha. This summer, for the first time in more than 20 years, he went sea scalloping. The reason, he said, is economics.

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Fishermen, Regulators Brace for Spring Herring Moratorium
Mark Alan Lovewell

Fishermen, Regulators Brace for Spring Herring Moratorium


Alewives, one of the great harbingers of spring, have returned to
Vineyard waters.

But there is a crucial difference this year: the state of
Massachusetts has barred people from catching or possessing these
anadramous fish, which return from the ocean to spawn in freshwater

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Bay Scallop Season Opens Across Island With Predictions for a Decent Harvest
Jack Shea

Early reports indicate a solid but not spectacular bay scalloping season on the Island this year, and shellfish constables report a healthy crop of seed for next year’s harvest.

Commercial scallopers are enjoying early success outside town harbors in Edgartown, Vineyard Haven, Chilmark and Oak Bluffs, and near-record opening prices of $18 per pound for their catch.

Shellfish constables are not expecting a banner year on the ponds.

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Last Draggers in Menemsha

Last Draggers in Menemsha

The Quitsa Strider II sits rusting at the dock in Menemsha. Her skipper Jonathan Mayhew, who has devoted his life to commercial fishing, has sold his days at sea. A Gloucester fishing cooperative has bought the permits that allow him to fish in federal waters.

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Fishermen Take Their Case To New England Council
Mark Alan Lovewell

Concerned the Vineyard will be locked out of participation in a restored federal fishery, a small group of Island commercial fishermen went to a meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council last month to make their plea for some part of the future pie.

Today only one Island fisherman, Gregory Mayhew of Chilmark, is permitted to pursue cod, haddock and yellowtail in federal waters.

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Fishing Group Takes Stand Against Yo-Yoing

Yo-yoing, a fishing technique commonly used by commercial striped bass fishermen in Massachusetts and elsewhere, should be outlawed, according to Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever, a national nonprofit organization that advocates treating striped bass as a game fish in state waters.

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