Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces $50,000 in Grants for Recreational Saltwater Fishing Access Projects

For immediate release:
1/21/2016
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Department of Fish and Game
  • Division of Marine Fisheries

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $50,000 in Grants for Recreational Saltwater Fishing Access Projects

Katie Gronendyke,

Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $50,000 in grants from the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) for recreational saltwater fishing access projects in Dennis, Gloucester, Marshfield, Plymouth, and Rockport.

“These projects improve the facilities anglers use and enhance the ability of the more than 160,000 licensed saltwater anglers in Massachusetts to access our marine waters,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By increasing access to outdoor recreation, we hope to enhance the lives of citizens from every corner of Massachusetts and heighten appreciation for our natural resources.”

“The renovations and upgrades to water access points along the Commonwealth coast will provide even more opportunities for our state’s residents and visitors to enjoy the Massachusetts coast,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Through this grant program, the state is able to assist municipalities in completing water access projects, which are also beneficial for local fishing and tourism industries.”

DMF’s Public Access Small Grant Program uses revenue from the sale of recreational saltwater fishing permits to improve angler opportunity in Massachusetts’ marine waters. This is the third round of grant funding since the state saltwater fishing permit was established in 2011.

“As an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, I am proud these grants will allow improvements to the infrastructure at several fishing and boating access points, increasing safe, reliable accessibility for recreational anglers to get out on the Commonwealth’s beautiful open waters,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “These grants are part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring that outdoor recreational opportunities are available for all to enjoy.”

“We know that saltwater anglers in Massachusetts greatly value improved access to coastal waters,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George Peterson. “This grant program is an excellent complement to the Baker-Polito Administration’s funding for sport fishing piers and boat access areas.”

During the third round of grants, DMF awarded funds to five coastal municipalities. The approved projects are listed below.

  • Dennis — The town was awarded $15,000 to replace a gangway and two tie-up floats at Uncle Freeman’s Landing, a state boat ramp located on the Bass River off Uncle Freeman’s Road.
  • Gloucester — The city was awarded $15,000 to partner with the local high school shop department to rebuild the floating portion of the Magnolia Pier in Gloucester.
  • Marshfield — The town was awarded $1,100 to install lighting at the state launching facility at Green Harbor, increasing the safety of launching and retrieving boats during low-light conditions.
  • Plymouth — The town was awarded $6,000 to install a filet table at the state boat launching facility at Plymouth Harbor, enabling anglers to clean their catch before going home. The fish racks will also be collected as bait for local lobstermen. A web camera will also be installed to allow anglers to see the current harbor conditions before driving to the boat ramp.
  • Rockport — The town was awarded $13,500 to maintain access paths and the main pathway along Atlantic Path. Rockport will hire a professional landscape architect who will clear pathways and utilize natural materials that will maintain the footpath along the shore. The path traverses 1.5 miles of rocky coastline that boasts some of the best shore fishing in the Commonwealth.

“These projects will help preserve fishing opportunities throughout the state’s coastline and the funds we are providing will complement work being done at the facilities by the cities and towns receiving the grants,” said DMF Director David Pierce. “We are excited to maintain this state-local partnership for the good of recreational anglers."

The projects are being funded from revenues in the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund, which was established in 2011 when the Massachusetts Legislature created a state recreational salt water fishing permit. Prompted by a federal mandate enacted to improve estimates of saltwater fishing effort and catch data, the permit program provides funds for marine recreational fishing programs including fisheries research, management, and public access for anglers.

“This pier is an important asset of the Magnolia community and as such is one that must be maintained. I am pleased that the state is able to provide assistance in this endeavor,” said State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester).

“I want to thank Commissioner Peterson, Secretary Beaton, and the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued commitment to our municipalities and supporting local projects of importance,” said State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster). “This kind recognition of needs within the Town of Dennis is a further statement to that commitment to state government being a partner in effective governmental leadership for the people of the Commonwealth.”

“Providing enhanced public access to the waterfront is a goal shared by the City of Gloucester and the Baker administration,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “These funds will help leverage support from the high school and result in a rebuilding of a portion of the Magnolia Pier where people have long enjoyed saltwater fishing, swimming, and other recreational activities.”

“Uncle Freeman's Landing in Dennis offers people from every walk of life an opportunity to enjoy not just Bass River, but Nantucket Sound as well,” said State Senator Dan Wolf (D-Hyannis). “This grant helps make that access real, and does so with funds that come directly from fishing license revenue. Many thanks to the Department of Fish & Game for administering such a smart, successful program.”

DMF administers the fund with the assistance of the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Panel, a group of private stakeholders that advises DMF on recreational fishing projects and initiatives. Under the state law that established the recreational saltwater fishing permit, one-third of all license fees are dedicated to recreational saltwater fishing infrastructure projects in Massachusetts, ensuring better access to coastal fishing.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $50,000 in Grants for Recreational Saltwater Fishing Access Projects

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Department of Fish and Game 

The Department of Fish & Game works to preserve the state's natural resources and exercises responsibility over the Commonwealth's marine and freshwater fisheries, wildlife species, plants, and natural communities, as well as the habitats that support them.

Division of Marine Fisheries 

The Division of Marine Fisheries manages the state’s commercial and recreational saltwater fisheries and oversees other services that support the marine environment and fishing communities.
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