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Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces $50,000 For Saltwater Recreational Fishing Access Projects

Boston, MA— The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced the awarding of $25,000 in grants to the City of Beverly and the Trustees of Reservations for saltwater fishing access improvements. The awards will enhance recreational fishing opportunities in Beverly and Martha’s Vineyard coastal waters. The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) awarded the funds through its collection of revenue from the sale of saltwater fishing permits. A portion is dedicated to improving angler opportunities and public access to Massachusetts marine waters. 

“As an avid angler, it’s important to me that residents have access to the best recreational fishing opportunities. Massachusetts is home to some of the greatest landscapes – we need to ensure we are improving and maintaining these fishing areas for future generations to create lifelong memories,” said DFG Commissioner Tom O’Shea. “Our administration is proud to support these local projects that encourage residents to build connections with our natural resources.” 

“These projects will not only improve fishing opportunities for shore-based anglers who utilize the facilities in Beverly and Edgartown but also support the state’s blue economy,” said DMF Director Dan McKiernan. “We are excited to maintain this state-local partnership for the good of recreational anglers.”  

Statements of Support 

Massachusetts Senator Julian Cyr 

“Recreational fishing is not only a treasured pastime on Martha’s Vineyard, but also a significant economic engine and essential aspect of island culture. A state grant of $25,000 to improve access to a popular Edgartown fishing spot is welcomed news for the community and further supports the Trustees of Reservations mission of environmental protection and access.” 

Massachusetts State Representative Dylan Fernandes 

“This grant is not just an infrastructure investment; it’s a commitment to protect our coastline and preserve our island’s rich tradition of saltwater fishing. By ensuring that Tom’s Neck remains a cherished fishing spot for years to come, we are expanding access to responsible ocean recreation and safeguarding the island’s coastal integrity for residents and visitors alike.” 

The following projects were awarded saltwater recreational fishing grants: 

  • Beverly- The City of Beverly applied for a grant of $25,000 to replace decking on an existing pier where recreational angling occurs. This award represents the third of its kind and will complete the maintenance of the decking on the Beverly Pier adjacent to the Beverly Harbormaster office. Projects like this preserve access and save taxpayer dollars by extending the useful life of existing facilities instead of building new ones at a greater cost.   
  • Edgartown- The Trustees of Reservations applied for a grant of $25,000 to repair off-road vehicle roadways and access to a popular fishing location, known as Tom’s Neck, a beachfront area on Chappaquiddick on Martha’s Vineyard.  The Trustees will be repurposing dredge materials to protect pathways and add resilience where erosion is threatening access. This project will provide continued access to Tom’s Neck which is an example of adaptive management that the Trustees are using to continue their mission of protecting the local environment and promoting access.   

The projects are being funded from revenues in the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund, established in 2011 when the Massachusetts Legislature created a state recreational saltwater 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.  

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, inland and marine fish and wildlife species management, 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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