Fishing trip combines science and fun

Jan 3, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) The Rhode Island Fish and Wildlife division would like to expand a program that combines gathering fish for scientific data with putting fresh food on the dinner tables of those in need.  An experiment that combined gathering scientific data, teaching young boys to fish, and providing a family with some food was so successful in 2012 that Rhode Island officials are hoping to expand it in 2013.
Supervising biologist with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Jason McNamee credits Dan Costa, port manager for the Division of Coastal Resources with the idea.

McNamee says the dual purpose fishing trip was tried for the first time this past fall with one family.  A father and his 7 and 9 year old sons, went to catch fish with the scientists.  They went out on a boat that was studying the tautog fish stock earlier this fall.
“...we sent Nicole Travisono who is a scientist here at the division.  Nicole gave a little briefing on what they would be doing that day and then alls they did was go out and fish, at that point they would filet the fish, the family got to take the fresh fish home to eat.  Tautog is delicious!  And then we keep the rack, which is everything left after the filet. We take that back to the lab with us.”

The family helped catch 31 fish ranging in length from 10-to-22 inches.

McNamee says every year the Fish and Wildlife division has to gather a lot of samples. “We have a minimum of 200, we like to get 300.  So for next year what we’d like to do is branch out a little bit and have an event, where we’ve got a number of vessels out with a number of families.  So that’s the other piece of this ... is to expand it to help additional families as well.  And that way we can get all of our samples and all the information and all  that charitable part of it done in one fell swoop.”

McNamee says there was an extra bonus to the first experimental trip.
“One highlight of the trip I’ll mention to you… I think as they were coming back into port they encountered a pod of dolphins along the way.  So the kids thought that was great.  So they had a real nice day.”

McNamee points to the efforts of many for the success of the project: John Rainone of the RI Party and Charter Boat Association as well as Steven Wright and Tom Tessitore of the Narragansett Parks and Recreation Department.

McNamee hopes more families can be involved next year with the effort.  

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.