Approximately one-half of all saltwater recreational fishing trips take place from shore.
Unfortunately, this highly popular method of fishing is being threatened by the rapidly accelerating loss of public access to coastal waters. Much of this loss is the direct result of acquisition and development of coastal properties by private parties who then post their holdings against public access. In Massachusetts, colonial law granted private ownership to the intertidal zone (the wet sand), but reserved the public rights of fishing, fowling, and navigation. Although the public rights were reserved for certain uses of the intertidal zone, it is often not possible to enjoy those rights because access across private property to the intertidal zone was never reserved.
To guarantee that the public has access to shore based fishing opportunities, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Department’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) with help from federal aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds, have made it a priority to find, acquire, and provide access by way of land acquisition of easements and/or tidal property.
Currently there are ten MarineFisheries properties and/or FBA properties or facilities providing anglers with access to shore fishing locations:
For more information on MarineFisheries access properties, please visit www.mass.gov/marinefisheries.
For a full listing see: access sites.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.