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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Trawl trips offer different kind of Bay cruise

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NARRAGANSETT -- September 2, 2004 -- The Cap’n Bert isn’t exactly a party boat—the deck is slippery, the accommodations are Spartan, and dinner is caught, not served. But for those adventurous folks who want to see what it’s really like to be a commercial fisherman—and take home what they catch—this fishing vessel is the place to be.

Rhode Island Sea Grant’s popular commercial trawl trips for the public aboard the University of Rhode Island Fisheries’ vessel Cap’n Bert take place Saturday, September 25. The first is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and the second from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bottom trawling collects fish in a net dragged along the seabed. Participants will get to see it in action and help sort the catch—everything from flounder and striped bass to the more unusual sea robins, mantis shrimp, sponges, and small sharks. The trip is supervised by David Beutel, Rhode Island Sea Grant fisheries extension specialist and former commercial fisherman. Surplus fish are donated to the North Kingstown Food Pantry.

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) has sponsored several trawl trips in the past. “We have everyone from experienced, longtime fishermen to beginners who go on the trawls. We have many repeats who have come back for five years in row,” says Steve Medeiros, RISAA president.

“Everybody gets to spend time in the pilothouse with the captain, who explains how everything works. The biggest excitement is when the net comes up and everyone gets to see the sea life dropped on the deck.”
The trip is $25, and reservations are required. Call David Beutel at (401) 874-7152. Boots or sneakers are recommended (no sandals please). Recommended for adults and teenagers.

The trawl trips are part of Coastweeks 2004, the annual nationwide celebration of the coast. In Rhode Island, Coastweeks is sponsored by R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council and Rhode Island Sea Grant. Visit or call (401) 874-6842 for more information.