Bluefish, terrapins, turbines and touble means this week we learn how to spy turtles, understand bluefish and get a grip on acres of windfarms. Wind turbines are planned for several locations to the east of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Almost one hundred people met recently in Portsmouth to express their concerns about all the unknowns. Many folks are pro-green energy but wary of momentum exceeding research. Energy produced by South Coast Wind, which used to be Mayflower Wind, turbines is needed to replace coal fired belching dinosaurs and turn the tide on climate chaos. That energy also needs to be transferred from offshore turbines to end users via cables. That might mean a cable run up the gut of the Sakonnet River.
“We enjoy and defend a healthy marine ecosystem. Much of what you propose includes a tapestry of unknowns threaded with promises to observe and correct if necessary. We don’t want the ocean floor, in areas rich with species of commercial and emotional value, to be altered in such a way that we, meaning you, damage what we have now. We don’t want a guarantee that you can correct something, or funnel money to try and fix an unknown which negatively affects sea life and the many businesses which rely on them. That’s an empty promise of no value if we lose tuna, whales or squid.”
There is much to learn about this new technology. The promises of a clean energy future is exciting but some folks are asking for more answers before the sea floor gets blanketed in turbines. It’s all about balance.
Bluefish are in big time. Hardcore anglers like Russ Mack and his Matunuck Crew have been laying into them, pausing only to laugh, pose with catches and retie leaders. They are remarkable creatures, the bluefish as well, who terrorize baitfish and other small kin in packs then hunt solo after sunset. They also have a perpetual motion tails, hence their oily flesh loaded with capillaries laced to feed all that motion. They are racing through breachways, in and out of river mouths and all along southern beaches. To the east, blue are have been tearing through schools of bait like tarpon, rewarding properly prepared anglers with big fights and stories. Anything shiny, wobbly and fast will attract their attention and the wise will secure them with wire leaders to survive sharp incisors. Of course we love the Al’s Goldfish Lure Company’s metal spoons for blues. Tie them directly if you can. Big blues are bio-accumulators, meaning they hold mercury so short math says if you plan to brine a few, smaller is better.
Bluefish are ravenous consumers, just like us humans
By now, we should all know about the new striped bass slot limit. Those who put conservation over short-sighted management will cheer this move. Unless you’re in New Jersey, apparently. The state’s Marine Fisheries Council decided to pass on voting for this welcomed size reduction and instead punted until June. I mean, why not? Go easy, send it to the Striped Bass Advisory Committee for a few weeks, keep on catching fish up to 38” and take a vacation in the Ocean State.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has set a deadline of July 2, 2023 for states to be in compliance or else they can institute a fishing moratorium. According to the Fishing Wire, “On May 2, 2023, the Striped Bass Board of Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took emergency action requiring every recreational fishery from Maine to North Carolina, including the Chesapeake Bay, to implement a 31-inch maximum size limit. This conservation measure was done in order to provide protection for the strong 2015 year class as they grow into spawning age. The emergency rule expires October 28.” Thanks Jersey.
Good Deadheads love us some turtles
Bluefish, Terrapins, Turbines, Trouble should all be on our radars
If stripers aren’t your thing, what about turtles? RIDEM is looking for volunteers to survey sites which may have Diamondback Terrapin turtles. Terrapins are state-endangered, like parking spots in Narragansett and can be tricky to locate. They hang saltmarshes, like many Fish Wrap readers and like to breathe a little fresh air, which is what the State needs help seeing. According to RIDEM, “As RI’s only species of brackish water turtle, they are considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need, and determining where they are (or are not) is crucial to protecting these charismatic critters! Finding sites where turtles are not present is just as important as finding new locations. There is no guarantee that you will get to see a diamondback terrapin during your survey, but there will be plenty of opportunities for viewing other saltmarsh wildlife.”
You will need binoculars, rain boots and a smartphone to record what you did or did not see and to commit to surveying one a week from the first week of June until July 8. Sites have a few different points and surveys take about 25 minutes. Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.