To promote and protect water-dependent industrial uses, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has established 11 Designated Port Areas (DPAs), which include: Gloucester Inner Harbor, Beverly Harbor, Salem Harbor, Lynn, Mystic River, Chelsea Creek, East Boston, South Boston, Weymouth Fore River, New Bedford-Fairhaven, and Mount Hope Bay. These DPAs have particular physical and operational features important for water-dependent industrial uses—such as commercial fishing, shipping, and other vessel-related marine commercial activities—and/or for manufacturing, processing, and production activities that require marine transportation or need large volumes of water for withdrawal or discharge. While water-dependent industrial uses vary in scale and intensity, they all generally share a need for infrastructure with three essential components: (1) a waterway and associated waterfront that has been developed for some form of commercial navigation or other direct utilization of the water; (2) backland space that is conducive in both physical configuration and use character to the siting of industrial facilities and operations; and (3) land-based transportation and public utility services appropriate for general industrial purposes. State policy seeks to preserve and enhance the capacity of the DPAs to accommodate water-dependent industrial uses and prevent significant impairment by non-industrial or nonwater-dependent types of development, which have a far greater range of siting options.

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) supports proactive planning to promote maritime development, prevent user conflicts, and accommodate supporting industrial and commercial uses. CZM is responsible for establishing, mapping, interpreting, and periodically reviewing DPA boundaries. CZM also works with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, who is responsible for permitting uses, fill, and structures in DPAs, to implement DPA policy goals and objectives.

This website provides the following information on DPAs: