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Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters
Martha's Vineyard
Surfcasters Association
P.O. Box 3053
Edgartown, MA 02539
Author: Created: 7/6/2011 7:37 PM RssIcon
Another MVSA Blog by Dave
By dbalon on 4/22/2012 8:24 PM
MVSA members showed up on a foggy Saturday morning to participate in the island wide, earth day beach cleanup. The entire Norton Point beach was cleaned up of debris all the way to the breach. Many thanks to those who participated and helped to make this a successful event.

Click here to see all the photos.
By dbalon on 4/20/2012 9:48 PM
Wasque Point has undergone some drastic changes since the MV Derby last Fall. Ron Domurat took a ride out there earlier this week and took some nice photos for our viewers. Check out the latest photos of what Wasque looks like as of April 12th. You will hardly recognize it. You might recognize the nice rip being formed in the ocean but the beach front has completely changed. Thanks to Ron Domurat for providing these photos.

Click here to see the latest photos of Wasque.
By dbalon on 4/15/2012 9:53 PM


The MVSA will once again be involved with the VCS beach cleanup. The Trustees expect that Norton Point trail will be open Saturday and that a clean up along the new inside trail will be greatly appreciated. MVSA members are asked to meet April 21st at 10:00 a.m. at the entrance to Norton Point Beach (left fork).  Bring tick repellent.

Details will be provided at that time. Bags will also be provided but please bring your own gloves.  Here is some additional information from the VCS provided by David Nash.

Hello everyone.  It’s time to make plans for the annual Vineyard Conservation Society beach clean-up effort.  This year the clean-up falls on April 21 and will run from 10 to 12 with another great barbeque at SBS following our collective efforts.  Since this is the 20th anniversary of this we are trying to do a little extra and have already secured some free T-shirts for the kids who participate and we are also planning on holding another of our hugely successful free raffles. 

    You are all the people who helped make this event such a success last year (and for some of you, many years).  Some of you are connected to organizations like the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Community Service program and have helped supply the resources to clean up multiple beach locations and that is especially appreciated. Last year, more groups participated than ever before and we are hoping this trend will continue as the beach clean-up represents a wonderful way to support the Martha’s Vineyard environment and celebrate Earth Day, and in a small way the arrival of spring even though we all know it doesn’t really arrive on Martha’s Vineyard until June!

    We are hopeful you will again participate this year and we would greatly appreciate if you could email me back to either confirm your participation or to advise me that we need to replace you or your group with another.  Please feel free to bring to our attention any problems or issues that we could maybe help with such as too many people at your beach or not enough people or not enough supplies, etc.


    If you prefer, you can call me as well.  I can be reached at 508-627-4867. 
Thanks.  David Nash

By dbalon on 3/28/2012 3:52 PM

OB Pier Update

A frequently asked question from our membership is "when is the OB Fishing Pier going to be built?" Essentially we have to keep up the pressure on our officials to give the project a spot at the head of the project line. Already the Oak Bluffs Fishing Pier Advisory Committee and the MVSA board of Directors have sent letters to;


Mary B. Griffin, Commissioner

Department of Fish and Game

251 Causeway St. Suite 400

Boston, MA 02114




Richard K. Sullivan, Jr.


Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

100 Cambridge St.

Suite 900

Boston, MA 02114

But there is nothing like a big stack of letters and postcards to galvanize an official into action. Please take a moment to send a postcard or letter to these two individuals.

Ask  them to give our project a favorable consideration to be built this year. Ask that our Saltwater Fishing License fees help move this along. Tell them we want the kids  and handicapped residents of MV to have a safe place to fish. Let them know we are still very interested. Thanks, Will

By dbalon on 3/25/2012 11:49 AM
Bill Brine recently took an aerial tour of the Norton Point breach. He provided a link to his amazing photos. Many thanks from the surfcasters to Bill for keeping us up to date on Nature's work out there.

Click here to see all the photos.

By dbalon on 3/21/2012 12:19 PM
In the May–June 2011 magazine, writer Tom Dunlop delved into the history and future of the Norton Point breach. Here’s an update on what the opening and the affected coastline on Chappy looks like now. In just four months, Norton Point has advanced 1,500 feet to the east while the Chappy spit has atrophied but hardly moved. In this period, the opening between the points has narrowed from about 1,225 feet to about 260 feet.

Click here to check out the full Martha's Vineyard Magazine (March 2012) article.
By dbalon on 3/3/2012 10:30 PM
Beginning March 9th, thru to the 11th is the 2012 N.E. Saltwater Fishing Show at the RI Convention Ctr. in Providence, RI. This is a great show and one of the best shows in the New England area. There is a great lineup of seminars and hundreds of exhibitors. There is also plenty of custom lures and deals to peak your interest. The show has tackle, rods, reels, lures, electronics, charter guides, boats, motors, accessories, clothing and much more! There is also excellent parking with indoor access to the show.

Click here to be linked directly to the N.E. Saltwater Fishing Show website.
By dbalon on 3/3/2012 10:32 AM

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Division of Marine Fisheries

251 Causeway Street, Suite 400

Boston, MA 02114

(617) 626.1520
Fax (617) 626.1509

February 28, 2012



The Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries)~is collaborating with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to collect information on the Commonwealth’s recreational saltwater fishery to measure its economic value. In addition to providing important information about the socio-economic value of saltwater fishing in Massachusetts, this federally funded study will help to validate frequently used economic evaluation methods by applying an innovative direct approach in which some saltwater permit holders are presented with a cash offer in exchange for giving up their permit and thus the right to fish in marine waters for the remainder of 2012. Other permit holders will receive a survey asking for either their willingness to sell their 2012 permit for a particular price or their willingness to have paid a different amount for their 2012 permit.MarineFisheries~is issuing this Advisory to attest to the legitimacy of this angler permit survey, including the cash offers that some individuals will receive, and to assure its constituents that~in no way will the information from the survey be used to modify fees~for Massachusetts’ recreational saltwater fishing permits.

Participation in the survey is voluntary; however,~MarineFisheries~highly encourages your response based on the important information that will be gathered. Past studies on the contribution of recreational fishing to the Commonwealth’s economy have considered the number of jobs and the amount of sales and incomes that are supported by the expenditures of saltwater recreational fishermen, but have not included the value that anglers place on being able to go saltwater fishing. This type of information holds great worth; for example, it would be necessary for a comprehensive estimate of economic losses to the recreational fishery if for some reason Massachusetts’ waters had to be closed to fishing.MarineFisheries~is maintaining a list of~Commonly Asked Questions~ ~about the 2012 Massachusetts Saltwater Angler Permit Survey under the recreational permit page of its General questions about~MarineFisheries’involvement can be directed to Nichola Meserve ( Technical questions regarding the study should be directed to Quantech, Inc., the statistical analysis and survey research firm contracted by NMFS to conduct the survey. Please contact Daemian Schreiber at 800-229-5220 ext 7831,

By dbalon on 2/29/2012 11:30 AM


By Colleen Quinn

BOSTON, STATE HOUSE, FEB. 28, 2012…..Commercial fishermen pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday not to interfere with striped bass catch limits, saying it is not the Legislature’s place to manage fisheries.

But others who run recreational fishing charter boats argued if state lawmakers do nothing, striped bass stocks will continue to dwindle and tourists who come to Massachusetts to fish in coastal communities will disappear, hurting local economies.

The two sides spent nearly five hours trying to convince lawmakers of their opposing viewpoints during a packed hearing of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The committee is chaired by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).

The commercial and recreational fishermen, charter boat captains, scientists, and seafood restaurateurs testified about the potential impacts of four bills aimed at restricting striped bass catches and declaring it a “game fish,” essentially prohibiting commercial fishing. Five other states have passed similar legislation declaring striped bass a game fish, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

Recreational fishermen fell on both sides of the issue with some pushing for limits, while others argued restrictions unnecessarily pit one group of fishermen against another.

“There is a myth out there that the recreational fishing community is behind this bill,” said Patrick Paquette, from the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association. “To pit a commercial fisherman against a recreational fisherman . . . I would hope legislators would sit back and say this has to be the wrong thing to do. Please don’t take one group of extremists as being the voice of the recreational community, because they are not.”

Capt. Michael Pierdinock, who runs charter boats on the South Shore, said he opposes the bills because since 1995 the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has done a good job managing and restoring the striped bass stock.

“It is the crown jewel example of fisheries management,” Pierdinock said.

Other recreational fishermen and charter boat captains said there is a real need for limits, arguing their livelihood is being impacted by a lack of fish.

John Kaufman, who fishes off Martha’s Vineyard, said the numbers of striped bass have been in radical decline. “We have a problem. The commercial industry has a history of being blind in terms of the numbers,” Kaufman said.

Capt. James Goodheart, who runs a charter boat for recreational fishers out of Newburyport, said his business depends on an abundance of striped bass being in the water. Goodheart said people who fish with him catch and release the bass, but they enjoy the sport of catching them. Without more fish, they will not come, he said, testifying in favor of catch limits.

Fishing tourists travel from all over the country, staying in local hotels, buying bait at area tackle shops and dining in Newburyport restaurants, Goodheart said.

“There is an economy that wouldn’t be there without these fish,” he said.

Commercial fishermen said this is the third time in three years they were forced to defend themselves over striped bass fishing. In previous legislative sessions, similar bills never made it out of committee.

“We have done everything asked of us as a commercial fishery,” said Michael Abdow, a Chatham fisherman who fishes both commercially and runs a recreational charter.

Abdow told legislators that the issue had become too political, and that they should stop considering striped bass catch limit legislation year after year.

“You have more important things to do than worry about fish and politics,” Abdow said. “This needs to stop now. Every fishery has its ups and downs. This fishery is regulated.”

Peter Kelly, a charter captain from Marion, said he has been fishing in Massachusetts waters for more than 45 years. He theorized that the warmer water in the past few years was driving more fish further off the coast. That is why recreational fishermen, who cannot afford to fuel boats to go further out, may be seeing less fish, he said.

“As fuel keeps going up, recreational catches are going to keep going down,” Kelly said.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates fisheries and has representatives from each East Coast state, allows Massachusetts fishermen to catch two million pounds of striped bass each year - split between recreational and commercial fishers. Commercial fishermen argued they do not catch more than their 1 million pound share.

But backers of catch limits said striped bass are overharvested.

David Ross, a scientist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said striped bass “is a fishery that needs protection,” and pointed to research that shows the numbers of pounds harvested by recreational fishers has decreased by almost 1 million pounds since 2006.

Along with the commercial fishing industry, other businesses would be hurt by catch limits, a group of local restaurant chefs said. Chefs referred to striped bass as a “superstar fish” that draws people from around the country into Massachusetts seafood restaurants.

Jasper White, from the Summer Shack restaurants located in Cambridge and Boston, said “the chefs support anything that assists our small local fishermen and their families. It is not just about striped bass, it is about sustaining our fishing culture.”

Several legislators testified against the bills, saying they would hurt an already struggling industry.

Rep. Sarah Peake, a Provincetown Democrat, said she believes the issue is not a matter for the state Legislature to decide, but should be left to other agencies with federal authority.

“These agencies have control of allocations and quotas. They have teams of scientists; they have multi-million dollar budgets; and they are engaged in data gathering,” Peake said at the outset of the hearing.

The state Legislature is not equipped to make decisions about a population of fish that swims from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to Maine, Peake said.

There are many reasons why some recreational fishermen may be catching less fish, she said, including a growing seal population that drives more fish further offshore. She also said recreational fishing is hampered by beaches being closed for longer periods every summer to protect the nesting spots of the piping plover birds.

“None of these reasons why fish aren’t caught off the back beaches have to do with our commercial fishermen,” Peake said.

Peake said she represents more than 300 commercial fishermen who “care very much about conservation efforts.”

“We need to work together to craft solutions so everybody is able to catch the fish that they want to catch,” Peake said.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said it was a “dangerous path” to bring fishing management issues to the legislative process. Federal agencies are better suited to make decisions around allocation and conservation, he said.

“If we truly care about conservation, perhaps we ought to look at the biological measures that impact the stock, rather than who is on the other end of the reel,” he said.

Tarr said striped bass fishing began in Massachusetts in the 1600s.

“I hope it won’t end on our watch,” he added.

The bills are (S 337), sponsored by Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre); (S 392), sponsored by Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole); (H 260) sponsored by Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham), and (H 1145) sponsored by former Rep. Vincent Pedone.


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By dbalon on 2/19/2012 9:00 PM
The Chappy breach is closing fast. It has changed once again in just the last few weeks. Ron Domurat provided the information below:

"Here's what's left of the breach! From the Chappy side of Norton Point looking across to Katama the breach is only about 60 yards across. This is big difference even from two weeks ago. Closing fast?????

There is also a bar that is forming just east of what's left of the bathing beach parking lot. At low tide, that bar is only about ten yards off the beach!

Click here to see the latest photos.
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