JM-Aquidneck-Island

John Migliori holds up the largemouth bass he caught last Saturday on an Aquidneck Island pond. Freshwater fishing has been good with warmer weather and no ice on the edges of ponds.

Last week, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their Fisheries Economics of the United States 2016 report. Both, recreational and commercial fishing in the nation and in Rhode Island, saw gains since the last 2015 report.

In 2016, commercial and recreational fisheries throughout the United States generated approximately 1.7 million jobs in the U.S. economy.

In addition, commercial and recreational fishing together generated $212.2 billion in sales impacts, $64.2 billion in income impacts, and $99.5 billion in value-added impacts throughout the economy.

In Massachsetts, NOAA said recreational fishing had $1,070 billion in sales, $495 million in income, $716 million in value added to the economy, and the industry supports 9,957 jobs.

But the commercial seafood industry in Massachusetts generates a greater value to the economy creating $2,318 billion in sales, $851 million in income, $1,161 billion in value added to the economy, and the industry supports 55,384 jobs without imports.

In Rhode Island, recreational fishing led the way with $412 million in sales, $176 million in income, $270 million in value added to the economy, and the industry supports 4,173 jobs.

The commercial seafood industry is also very valuable in Rhode Island, creating $333 million in sales, $120 million in income, $169 million in value added to the economy, and the industry supports 5,193 jobs without imports.

A copy of the report, NOAA’s Fisheries Economics of the U.S. 2016, can be obtained at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/fisheries-economics-united-states-report-2016

Senators advocate for fishermen with BOEM

Last week, senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Jack Reed (D-RI), sent a letter advocating for fishermen to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The letter urged the agency to continue to adopt policies for the offshore wind leasing and permitting process that bring fishermen and other marine stakeholders into the conversation early.

The senators said that early stakeholder involvement will help minimize spatial conflicts and reduce the risk of economic harm to the fishing industry.

As wind developers lease areas in federal waters for the first time, the Senators contend that existing stakeholders must be thoroughly consulted both before and after leases are granted.

In their letter, the senators pointed to Rhode Island’s success fostering collaborative and meaningful engagement on the Block Island Wind Farm, proving that offshore wind and other marine industries can operate in harmony.

The senators note that while the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has tried to improve communication between the fishing industry and wind developers, many of their constituents consider the existing efforts to be ineffective. For a copy of the letter, visit https://www.markey.senate.gov/download/minimizing-conflicts-offshore-wind-and-fishing.

Quahogs still king in my house

This time of year, the quahog is still king in my house. Last Saturday, I had the chance to dig a few quahogs in Narragansett Bay and host a linguini and quahog dinner for my brother-in-law’s 60th birthday.

Quahog shell fishing can be cold this time of year, with the water temperature in the high 40 degree area. So anglers must layer up. My two pairs of wool socks, two pairs of pants and rubber waders with build-in boots kept my submerged body parts warm. I also wore thin cotton gloves under shoulder-to-fingertip large rubber gloves. It was great to get out and shellfish.

Here’s my linguini recipe with white quahog sauce.

Ingredients:

½ cup virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic thinly sliced (or 4 teaspoons chopped garlic from jar)

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (plus four to five good pinches)

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup lemon juice

Red pepper to taste

3 dozen (scrubbed) littleneck quahogs (1 ½ to 2 inches)

Meat of 6 to 8 large quahogs cut-up and cleaned (optional)

1 pound linguini pasta

Scrub littleneck quahog shells thoroughly and put them aside. Cook linguine while making recipe. Heat extra virgin olive oil in heavy pasta pan over medium heat, cook garlic in oil until golden brown (about one minute). Add and stir in 1/3 cup chopped parsley and all the unopened little necks, let simmer for two minutes. Add wine and let simmer for one minute. Add lemon and the meat of six to eight large quahogs cut up and cleaned (extra quahog meat is optional; if I catch them I put them in). Add red pepper to taste. Cook for eight to ten minutes or until all quahogs are open. Discard quahogs that are not open. Lower heat and put in one pound of cooked linguini and toss the entire mixture, put into large pasta bowl, then garnish with four pinches of fresh parsley.

This recipe is a variation of one I first saw in the May, 2002 issue of Bon Appétit magazine by Lori Demori.

Where’s the bite?

Cod and haddock fishing were strong this week.

“Saturday anglers enjoyed steady action throughout the day with black sea bass, cod, haddock and jumbo porgies,” Capt. Chris Cullen of the Island Current III, Snug Harbor, R.I. said.

Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We are still finding a good amount of haddock on the grounds as well. We really thought this was just a fluke a few weeks ago, but it seems like they are sticking around.

Friday did have the best action on the cod fish with high hook catching five keepers. Between the cod, haddock, cunner, ling and sea bass there was always a fish coming over the rails.”

Party boats sailing for cod this time of year include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com and the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. . Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.

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