Friday, August 13, 2021

Fish and Friends on The Harbor

 Hey everyone!

One more week! I can't believe it! This summer has truly flown by, but I am so happy about the friends I've made this summer. Save The Harbor has been one of the greatest and most exciting opportunities I've had, and I am so grateful I was able to be a part of the team this year. I am happy to say that this week was another one for the books; with Ruthzee Louijeune on Monday, the Fishing Derby on Tuesday, and the Invasive Species activity and Boat Cruise on Wednesday, this week I not only learned about so many people and things but I also smiled through it all. Ruthzee Louijeune was definitely my favorite staff meeting speaker so far this summer. Being involved and interested in politics since I was a child, I jump at any opportunity to listen and talk to someone who is campaigning. I enjoyed listening to everyone's questions, especially those who related to her on a level that I couldn't. My entire life, I've wanted to go into a political position of some sort like my father, and I knew it was reachable for me. But, I never knew why I always felt so comfortable with the idea of politics. After listening to my coworker's questions, I realized it's because all of the politicians I looked up to as a child were predominantly white men. I am already on Michele Wu's campaign but I look forward to hearing back from Ruthzee and supporting her, though I can't vote. (Sorry, that was very off-topic!)

Anyway, the Fishing Derby was SO fun. As I've said before, my favorite days are where all of us are together, but this one really stood out. We started off the day all chatting and getting ready for the day ahead of us. I was put in a great boat and had so much fun throughout the day. I learned that only striped bass measuring at least 28” and less than 35” (total length) may be retained in the recreational fishery, and anything exceeding that measurement must be caught and released. This law was commenced in 2018 when the coastwide stock assessment for striped bass found the rate of fishery removals was too high for the long-term sustainability of the population at desired levels. Accordingly, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) created new measures in order to reduce fishery removals coastwide by 18% and therefore end overfishing. During my research, I also found that in 2021, Massachusetts' interstate management plan also mandates the use of circle hooks for all recreational striped bass fishing, with the exception of bait attached to an artificial lure. This law focuses on increasing the survival of fish that are caught and released by fishermen daily, including us! But how does a circle hook increase survival? Well, circle hooks are proven to reduce the possibility of “deep hooking” a striped bass. Deep hooking is a leading cause of post-release mortality. The built of a circle hook’s point causes the hook to catch on the lip or mouth of the fish instead of the gut or gills. Various studies have shown that using a circle hook instead of a J-hook can reduce an individual fish’s risk of post-release mortality by 50%! I ended up catching a 29-inch striped bass, which was surprising, exhilarating, but also extremely tiring. I learned how to reel in a fish the right way, and also got the arm workout of the century (Lol!). We came back, ate lunch, and spent time with our coworkers, then said goodbye until Wednesday. 

Wednesday was just as much fun as Tuesday, just a little bit hotter! My group and I spent the day on Longwharf and did an Invasive Species activity with a park ranger. I learned all different types of invasive species, what they look and feel like, and even what makes a species invasive. We spent time looking for invasive species on the docks, then filled out a survey on the prevalence of all of the species in that certain area. My group and I had a lot of fun! We spent the rest of the day trying to avoid the heat, which didn't work out all that well. But, once 4 o'clock hit, we were all excited to say hi to the rest of our coworkers and board the boat. I spent time with the friends I made this summer, and also met some really cool people from other camps, even some people I had met before! It was extremely interesting listening to them talk about what they did this summer, and how our jobs correlate with one another. But, my favorite part was definitely dancing towards the end. It was a great way to say goodbye to Kasey and Roy, who are leaving this week :( 

Although this sounds really odd, my favorite part of each day this summer has been the train rides home. Whether just with my team members, or with a giant group of us, it is so fun all grabbing food, walking to the train station, and commuting home. I've had the best conversations on the train rides home and made some great friendships along the way. 

Overall, this week made me really appreciate the great job I have done, everything I've learned, and everyone I've met. 

Here are some pictures of my week:



MaryKate Hart

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