Preserving Public Access to Massachusetts Coastal Fishing Areas
Massachusetts' coastal waters are a prime location for saltwater recreational fishing, attracting anglers from all walks of life. With approximately half of all saltwater fishing trips starting from the shore, the significance of maintaining public access to these areas cannot be overstated. However, the rapid acquisition and development of coastal properties by private entities pose a significant threat to this beloved pastime. The encroachment of private ownership into the intertidal zones—areas historically reserved for public use under colonial law for fishing, fowling, and navigation—has made it increasingly difficult for the public to enjoy these rights fully.
Strategic Initiatives for Public Access
To counteract the loss of coastal access, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Department’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) have embarked on a mission to secure land for public fishing access. Supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration funds and revenue from recreational fishing permits, these agencies have prioritized the acquisition of easements and tidal properties. This initiative ensures that anglers have continued access to Massachusetts' rich shore-based fishing opportunities, preserving the state's fishing heritage and supporting its marine ecosystem.
Accessible Fishing Locations in Massachusetts
The DMF and FBA have successfully established several properties and facilities across Massachusetts to facilitate shore-based fishing. These sites are strategically located to offer anglers a variety of fishing experiences, from tranquil river fishing to the adventurous coastal shorefishing. The current list of accessible fishing locations includes:
- Wareham River Fish Pier, Wareham: A gateway to the diverse marine life of the Wareham River.
- Craven’s Landing at Scorton's Creek, Sandwich: Offering serene fishing settings along Scorton's Creek.
- Popponesset Beach Shorefishing Area, Mashpee: A picturesque beachfront area for shore fishing enthusiasts.
- Parker's River Fishing Pier, Yarmouth & Bass River Fishing Piers, Yarmouth (South Street and High Bank Rd): Prime locations for catching a variety of fish species.
- Dogfish Bar, Aquinnah & Great Rock Bight Shorefishing Area, Chilmark: Unique spots on Martha’s Vineyard offering shore fishing opportunities.
- Leland Beach, Edgartown: A scenic beach providing access to Edgartown’s marine offerings.
- Fore River Shorefishing Area, Quincy & Broad Cove Shorefishing Area, Somerset: Coastal areas perfect for those looking to fish in quieter waters.
- Cashman Park Fishing Pier, Newburyport & Oak Bluffs Fishing Pier, Martha’s Vineyard: Well-maintained piers that serve as excellent points for fishing activities.
- Deer Island Fishing Pier, Boston: A pier that combines fishing with stunning views of the Boston skyline.