July 2012 #2 - Rhode Island Sea Grant - University of Rhode Island
FOCUS ON: Saltwater angling in Rhode Island RECREATIONAL FISHING is big business in Rhode Island. In 2007, over 180,000 anglers fished Rhode Island waters from shore, from private boats, or from one of the approximately 150 charter and party boats licensed in the state, making 1.2 million trips. Most of these trips take place in the summer, during the migrations of top recreational species like tuna, scup, bluefish, and striped bass. Recreational fishing generates $52 million annually for the state (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2008). “Folks come from all over the world to vacation here in Rhode Island. One of the things that they choose to do is to hire a charter boat or going on a party fishing boat. I think it’s an important part of the economic structure of of the entire state, and Washington County in particular,” says Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association. The R.I. Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), adopted in 2011, recognizes the value of the commercial and recreational fisheries taking place throughout its offshore planning area, which covers nearly 1,500 square miles including parts of Block Island and Rhode Island Sounds and the Atlantic. The plan was created to manage existing and proposed uses for offshore waters, including the development of wind farms. The Ocean SAMP has established a Fishermen’s Advisory Board to advise the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) on how proposed development may impact fishermen. The Ocean SAMP also requires each developer to employ a third-party fisheries liaison for a project’s duration. Fertile fishing grounds lie along the edges of distinct habitats, where mud meets sand, sand meets gravel, gravel meets boulders, or boulders meet ledge. These areas will be treated as “Areas Protected for Conservation,” which prospective developers must avoid, and, where avoidance is not RHODE ISLAND possible, must minimize and mitigate impacts to the area’s resources. Notes from SEA GRANT JULY 2012 #2 For more information on the Ocean SAMP, visit seagrant.gso.uri.edu/oceansamp. The Ocean SAMP was developed by the CRMC and the University of Rhode Island.