Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mooring bill would increase fees... Fishing show is upon us

Fishing Show.  The New England Saltwater Fishing Show, being held February 27th –March 1st at the RI Convention Center will have over sixty seminars and workshops.

Mooring bill would increase fees substantially... Fishing show upon us
A new House Bill in Rhode Island would increase boat mooring fees for residents by adding on a State mooring fee ranging from $150 to $500 on top of city and town mooring fees.  This would double the cost of most mooring fees for boaters (some boaters may have their fees triple in cost). 

“Revenue from a State mooring fee would go to the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to provide additional services to boaters.” said Representative Joseph Trillo (R-Warwick) cosponsor of House bill No. 5257.  Representative Trillo and Representative Scott Slater (R-Providence) sponsored the bill (dated January 29, 2015) because one of Representative Slater’s constituents was having difficulty getting a mooring said Trillo.
“We want consistent mooring rules and regulations in RI. Now some cities and towns allow you to pass your mooring on to someone else, in Newport some people are even putting them in their wills. And, this is not right.” said Trillo.
Although the proposed legislation provides funding for DEM, the Department did not introduce the bill.  Robert Ballou, assistant to DEM Director Janet Coit said, “This is the first time I’ve heard about the legislation, but from what you are saying I am sure we’ll be hearing a lot more.”

Fees generated from moorings are substantial for cities and towns helping to defray the cost of harbor master programs and harbor maintenance for docks, seawalls, etc.  Newport is expected to collect $409,000 and Portsmouth about $65,000 in mooring fees this fiscal year.
The proposed legislation increases fees substantially.  The written bill is not clear but Representative Trillo said fees would be $150 for vessels with moorings less than 500 pounds, $250 for vessels with moorings between 500 and 1,000 pounds and $500 for vessels with moorings more than 1,000 pounds. 
Towns calculate mooring fees differently; however, they are substantially lower than the fees proposed by Representatives Trillo and Slater.  Fees in East Greenwich are $150 for residents and $300 for non-residents for all sized vessels; South Kingstown fees are $8/foot for residents (or $144 for an 18’ boat) and for non residents $12/foot (or $216 for an 18 foot boat); and the Bristol is $80 for residents and $210 for non residents.
In an email to members the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association (RIMTA) said, “The proposed legislation would be effective at squeezing Middle America out of boating… it would put a strain on local budgets and to the entire community who will be asked to contribute more… it is adverse to our goals as an industry to increase boating and access to Narragansett Bay which contributes to our local economy and job creation.”

 It is clear Rhode Island boaters and fishermen alike are keeping a close eye on this bill as many see it as a restriction to access to the water and fishing with such high mooring fees that would double and triple depending on the size of your boat and town regulations.

New England Saltwater Fishing Show Feb. 27-March 1
The New England Saltwater Fishing Show is scheduled to take place Friday, February 27th to Sunday March 1st. Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), said, “Our aim this year is to continue to raise the quality of our seminars, demonstrations and workshops with over sixty (60) of them this year.”  The New England Saltwater Fishing Show is being held at the RI Convention Center and will have over 225 exhibitors including tackle, rods, reels, lures, electronics, charter guides, boats, motors, accessories, clothing and much more.

This year Capt. Dave Carraro with mate Sandro Maniaci of the F/V TUNA.COM (top captain/boat on the TV show Wicked Tuna) will be at the show.
Seminar topics include inshore and offshore fishing, specie specific seminars on tautog, fluke, striped bass, tuna, bonito as well as tactics for jigging, chucking, chumming, skishing (extreme surfcasting) and more. Visit for a complete list of seminars, workshops and speakers.

New tautog assessment accepted 
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Tautog Management Board approved the 2015 Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report for management use. The 2015 assessment evaluated stock status regionally to reflect differences in life history characteristics and harvest patterns. The assessment is the most comprehensive evaluation of stocks to date and provides multiple alternatives for how tautog can be managed regionally.

After reviewing the results of the stock assessment and peer review report, the Tautog Management Board accepted the 2015 benchmark stock assessment for management use. However, it expressed concern with the preferred stock structure that would split Long Island Sound harvest between two regions.
In the absence of conclusive biological evidence to define the regional boundaries, the Board will consider the management and assessment implications of regionalization and choose its preferred regions for future management. In addition, the Board tasked the Tautog Technical Committee to develop reference points that provide consistent metrics to determine stock status across regions. Results will be presented to the Board at the Commission’s Spring Meeting in May.

 A more detailed description of the stock assessment results is available on the Commission’s website at

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