Funding to Communities for Recreational Fishing Access Projects

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $17,716 in grants to saltwater fishing access projects in Marblehead and Sandwich. The grants were awarded through the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Public Access Small Grant Program, which uses revenue from the sale of recreational saltwater fishing permits to improve angler opportunity in Massachusetts’ marine waters.

“The Public Access Small Grant Program is crucial to supporting environmental and recreational opportunities while ensuring the continuation of a vibrant tourism economy in the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Through the continued support of Massachusetts’ 160,000 licensed saltwater anglers, the Baker-Polito Administration is working with municipalities across the state to enhance access and infrastructure in Massachusetts’ coastal cities and towns.”

“The Public Access Small Grant Program is an excellent complement to the Baker-Polito Administration’s capital funding for sport fishing piers and boat access areas overseen by the Department’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access,” said DFG Commissioner Ron Amidon.

These grants are funded from revenues in the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund, and are the fifth round of grant funding since the state saltwater fishing permit was established in 2011. The saltwater fishing permit program provides funds for marine recreational fishing programs including fisheries research, management, and public access for anglers.

The projects receiving funding are:

Marblehead – $10,796 – The Town of Marblehead will use the funding to improve access to shoreline fishing areas at four locations – Village Street, Pattison Landing, Parkers Landing, and Tuckers Landing. Improvements include safety ladders, fish cleaning/fillet station, and sign kiosks at each location.

Sandwich – $6,920 – The Town of Sandwich will use the funding to repair the heavily used boat ramp and to install lighting at the same boat ramp to improve safety at that location during low light conditions.

“These projects will improve fishing opportunities for shore-based anglers and boaters in Marblehead and Sandwich,” said DMF Director David Pierce. “We are excited to maintain this state-local partnership for the good of recreational anglers.”

“I am grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Marine Fisheries for supporting the maintenance of the boat ramp in the Town of Sandwich,” said State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “Boating is the lifeblood of coastal communities and residents rely on the Sandwich boat ramp for both economic and recreational activities. This grant will provide great assistance to those residents who depend on the ramp for those pursuits.”

“For many, the marina’s boat ramp is the gateway to the canal and Cape Cod Bay; they rely on it being in tip-top shape to access the marina for business and pleasure,” said State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich). “I’d like to thank the Division of Marine Fisheries for their continued assistance in maintaining and improving this important fixture of the Sandwich Marina.”

“I am proud to see investments in maritime safety and recreation being made across Marblehead,” said State Representative Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead). “Boating and fishing are deeply ingrained in the culture of our community, and it is great to see this grant supporting the people and businesses that rely on a well-supported waterfront.”

DMF administers the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development 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.