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.

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.

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.


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.

Vineyard fishermen may have a fairer shot at lucrative federal and state permits with the introduction this week of two new programs aimed at making the permits more affordable.


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.