The Fishing Industry in New Hampshire

Measuring around 18 miles long, New Hampshire has the smallest shoreline of all coastal states.  But for about 400 years, it’s been enough to support small boat fishermen in the Seacoast region.  They make their livings cruising New England’s waters for cod, lobster, shrimp and other stocks.

For decades, the industry’s been challenged by declining populations of fish and shellfish, as well as changing federal regulations.  As of 2010, New England fishermen are allowed to catch a set poundage of fish based on their take over a 10-year span.  New Hampshire fishermen argue this change has made the cost of working outpace profits, forced many small boats out of business, and discouraged new people from entering the industry. 

No matter the cause, figures from the US Census Bureau clearly show an industry in decline.  In Portsmouth, the Seacoast’s main city, the Census Bureau reports only 0.2 percent of residents work in the “Farming, fishing and forestry occupations” category.  That’s compared to 0.6 percent in 2000.  A number of New Hampshire fishermen, politicians, and historians believe that without change, the state’s small boat fishing industry is heading toward extinction.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

drocpsu / Flickr/cc

New Hampshire and New England have been firmly on the local and sustainable food bandwagon for years now, and although Granite Staters are also enthusiastic consumers of seafood, it hasn't been until recently that some in the state have tried to bring that local sensibility to the fish they eat.

Fish And Game's Glenn Normandeau

May 11, 2015
Kevin Micalizzi / Flickr/CC

Fish and Game Executive Director joins us to discuss his agency's mission, its 150th anniversary, and its wildlife management planning process - including decisions around hunting permits and fishing catch limits.

 

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is holding a public hearing in Portsmouth on proposed fishing rules on April 7.

The proposed rule changes include requiring any Atlantic cod taken from tidal waters to be immediately released; changing size and possession limits for haddock; and requiring new buoy line requirements for lobster traps and hauling times.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center.

Daryl Carlson/KamaraImage.com

Every sportsman knows that the best way to catch prey is to use the right bait.

So when the Meredith Rotary Club wanted to raise funds with an ice fishing charity competition years ago, the members chose the best bait they could imagine: money.

“We really believed that was the key to having so much interest in our event,” recalled John Sherman, a current Rotarian who helped start the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby back in 1979. “We offered what was, back then, a lot of prize money.”

Flickr

State officials are warning ice conditions are more dangerous than they appear.

After an unseasonably warm December, a hard frost has settled over New Hampshire, coating many ponds and lakes with a layer of ice. That ice may look solid, but in many cases it’s not nearly thick enough for ice fishing or snow mobiles.

Kevin Jordan with Fish and Game says to hike or fish safely you need four to six inches of solid ice, and for snowmobiling you need eight to ten inches.

Busting Ice Fishing Myths With The Fish Nerds

Dec 23, 2014
Word of Mouth

Think ice fishing is old fashioned? Think again! The Fish Nerds are here to tell you that modern ice fishing in New Hampshire incorporates technology, all of the creature comforts you could ever want and a generous helping of fun and camaraderie.

Listen to their conversation, with Virginia, below.

Well, it sure doesn’t have to be. Bob houses and fishing huts can accommodate a heater large enough to keep you warm while you wait for the fish to bite. Dave and Clay told us about a guy who puts a hot tub next to his bob house and stays nice and toasty all season long.

The Ferguson decision, Eric Garner protests, and immigration are all topics we avoid at the holiday table, but opinions run free on Facebook. On today’s show what do you do when your Facebook friends make racist posts?

Plus, think ice fishing is for people who like to drink and dislike their families? The fishing nerds say the times they have-a-changed…

Also today, bad taste among the British; we’ll review the UK traditions of really bad Christmas number ones.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

New Hampshire's Fish and Game Department says changes have been made to rules for catching smelt, striped bass, white perch, haddock and cod for 2015.

Daily limits have been reduced for smelt to accommodate a decline and striped bass to comply with a fishery management plan.

The daily limit of 25 white perch for coastal waters now matches the limit for inland waters.

Min Lee via Flickr CC

New Hampshire health, environment and wildlife officials are holding a public meeting on shellfish rules for 2015.

The information session set for Tuesday night in Portsmouth will be an opportunity for the public to hear about a dye tracking study that traced effluent flows from the Pierce Island wastewater treatment facility to Little Harbor and areas of Portsmouth Harbor out to Odiorne Point. Officials say that study indicates that shellfish harvesting in those areas need to be closed.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

For the past several years, two men calling themselves The Fish Nerds have been on a quest to catch and eat all the species of New Hampshire freshwater fish. Their quest is now complete.

Clay Groves and Dave Kellam talked with All Things Considered about what they learned while trying to “Catch-m-All and Eat-m-All.”

How did this all get started?

New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are holding two hearings on a draft plan to distribute $1.1 million in economic relief funds to the state's groundwater fishing industry.

The hearings will be held Monday and Tuesday night at 6 at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth.

Monday's meeting focuses on the commercial groundfish industry and Tuesday's on the for-hire groundfish industry.

finchlake2000 via flickr Creative Commons

Despite having 94,000 miles of coastline and millions of acres of rivers, America imports 91% of its seafood. Today we explore the case for reviving the nation’s local fisheries. And, we’ll stay local with filmmaker Jay Craven, whose film Northern Borders is now on tour in New Hampshire. He tells us about the economics of regional filmmaking. Plus, word craft for fast times: a writing teacher celebrates the beauty and efficacy of writing short. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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Gregory Heinrichs / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game is asking anglers fishing in the Squam Lakes to immediately release any largemouth and smallmouth bass that were radio-tagged as part of a state study.   The bass will have a thin wire protruding from their underside and a yellow numbered tag near their dorsal fin.   The goal of the three-year study is to determine the percentage of bass returning to Big Squam Lake after being lake and weighed in and released in Little Squam Lake, and how long it takes them.

Sarah VanHorn, Manager of NH Community Seafood / N.H. Sea Grant

This is the second year for a New Hampshire program that brings the farm share model to fish.

It’s called New Hampshire Community Seafood, and it was the subject of a recent column by David Brooks, who writes the weekly Granite Geek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and Granite Geek.org. He joined us on All Things Considered to talk about the program.

Clouser Minnows
pacres / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Fish and Game and the Division of Parks and Recreation are offering two free fly-fishing workshops in the North Country.   Officials urge interested anglers to register soon, as these workshops fill up fast.   A two-day workshop will take place June 7-8 at Coleman State Park in Stewartstown.  A second workshop is offered by the Haverhill Recreation Department June 28-29.   The workshops are open to anglers age 13 and up, although those 13-16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Striped bass are starting to arrive in New Hampshire's coastal waters, and the state wants to figure out how many are out there.  To help state and federal fisheries biologists assess the status of the population, the state Fish and Game Department is asking anglers to participate in an online survey.  Participants are asked to measure each striped bass they catch. The survey is the only method the department currently has to get length measurements on fish that are released.  There's been a survey since 1993.  It can be found at http://www.fishnh.com/marine/striper_survey.html .     

After a brief delay, New Hampshire Fish and Game department trucks have been heading out to stock the state's lakes and ponds with trout.  Saturday is opening day for the state's designated trout ponds. Fish stocking generally occurs from mid-March to early July, but it didn't start until the last days of March this year because spring conditions were slow to arrive.  Inland Fisheries Chief Jason Smith says with cold, high waters from melting snow, it will be a few weeks before rivers and streams are at "fishable'' levels.

Funding Fish And Game

Apr 2, 2014
kittynh / Flickr/CC

This agency does much more than serve hunters and anglers, it’s also involved in search and rescue, land conservation, and habitat management.  Despite all these responsibilities, hunting and fishing license fees are the main revenue source. Now, some in the Statehouse are taking hard look expanding that base - to hikers, canoers, and the many others who enjoy the great outdoors.

GUESTS:

N.H. Joins Lawsuit Aimed At Blocking Fishing Regulations

Sep 16, 2013

New Hampshire is joining a lawsuit arguing that new federal rules will devastate New England's groundfishing industry.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and Attorney General Joseph Foster said Monday that New Hampshire has joined a lawsuit Massachusetts filed against fishing regulators in May seeking to block the rules.

In a new book, UNH professor Jeffrey Bolster argues the North Atlantic, for all its vastness and power, is deeply vulnerable.and has suffered cycles of over fishing for centuries, with each new method of fishing causing stocks to decline. We’ll look back at this history and what it might teach us about restoring our oceans to health.

Guest

W. Jeffrey Bolster - UNH Professor and author of the new book "The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail"

Bass Fishing Newest High School Sport In N.H.

May 10, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

  

This was no place for marching bands, pep rallies or cheerleaders. Fifty four teams, each composed of two students, met on the dark waters of Lake Winnipesaukee under threatening skies.

“I’ve got a spinning rod set up, I’m going to be fishing mostly spinners,” says Campbell High School Junior Connor Perry. “My other teammate is going to be fishing mostly some worms. See what works out today, got to see what they want.”  

Captain Kimo via Flickr Creative Commons

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown found that the traditional ice-fishing bob-houses that pop up each winter may be on their way out. Earlier this month, Sam caught up with Dave Genz—the man credited as the “Godfather of modern ice fishing” and the only ice-angler to be named to America’s fresh water fishing hall of fame—as he fished and demonstrated and some of the newer innovations to the winter sport.

The Mortal Sea

Nov 30, 2012

In a new book, UNH professor Jeffrey Bolster argues the North Atlantic, for all its vastness and power, is deeply vulnerable.and has suffered cycles of over fishing for centuries, with each new method of fishing causing stocks to decline.  We’ll look back at this history…and what it might teach us about restoring our oceans to health.

Guest

W. Jeffrey Bolster - UNH Professor and author of the new book "The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail""

Flikr Creative Commons / Ken_Lord

New Hampshire fishermen facing cuts and closures imposed on them because of declining fish populations say regulators are putting them out of business. Thursday those fishermen learned that they might get some financial relief. The federal government has declared a disaster in the New England Ground-fish fishery.

redjar via Flickr/Creative Commons - http://www.flickr.com/photos/redjar/131668337/sizes/m/in/photostream/

For years doctors and health officials have been trying to warn consumers about the risk of mercury in fish.

The new short film “Mercury: From Source to Seafood” is trying to aid in that effort by filling in a bit more of our understanding of how mercury ends up in fish.

Next year could be a critical year for commercial fishermen in New England.

That’s because regulators said last week at a meeting in Portsmouth, that they may institute sharp cuts in catch limits on a number of groundfish species, like cod and haddock.

Flkr Creative Commons / KeithCarver

For some Granite Staters the loon represents the state in a very emotional way, and supporters of the bird were out in force on Tuesday, defending a bill that would ban lead fishing gear. The bill was being heard by the House Fish and Game Committee, and attendees over-flowed out the door of a double capacity hearing room. 

Trout Stocking Feels Spring Heat

Apr 20, 2012

A fishing license in New Hampshire goes for $35. That money helps fund the State’s six fish hatcheries, where the vast majority of trout that anglers reel in are raised. 

Get the Lead Out

Apr 6, 2012
Lead Sinkers
Photo by kurtfaler via Flickr/Creative Commons.

As anglers dust off their tackle boxes, it's a great time to make sure that all the lead is out. Decades of research by the Loon Preservation Committee in Moultonborough has proven the toxicity of lead fishing tackle to wildlife. One lead sinker an ounce or less in weight can kill a loon in a matter of weeks. Loons swallow grit and pebbles that help to grind up food, and sometimes there's a sinker in the gravelly mix. Fishermen lose a lot of sinkers. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced cuts to the catch limits on Atlantic Cod for the 2012 fishing year. But New Hampshire fishermen got a reprieve, since the cuts could have been much worse.

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