Public Access Updates
The world of recreational fishing access is an ever evolving one with access locations coming and going and the need for improvements always looming. To date, DMF has newly constructed or fully rebuilt five large handicap accessible fishing piers in the past decade using money from your recreational saltwater fishing permits. These piers have provided countless anglers with opportunities for family and friends to spend time with a line in the water and hopefully some fish being fought. The Deer Island in Winthrop, Cashman Park in Newburyport, Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, and two Bass River piers in Yarmouth were well designed and will last for generations of anglers to come. Next to be rebuilt is the Salem Willows Park Pier which overlooks Salem Sound. DMF, the Office of Fishing and Boating Access, and the City of Salem have partnered to rebuild this iconic fishing pier. This historic pier site is one of the oldest on the Massachusetts coast and will once again welcome anglers back to target their favorite species.
DMF has also been hard at work on other access projects in possibly lesser-known places. In late 2022, funds were awarded from the small-grant program to the towns of Barnstable and Cohasset and the city of Newburyport to improve existing access sites. These projects range from better lighting to new launch floats for canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. The improvements and updates to existing sites are very important and DMF staff are always working to find the next projects to keep your access to our coastal marine waters great!
Town of Cohasset: $18,000
- The town will install specialized car-top vessel launch floats to assist people in launching canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards, which are becoming more popular as fishing vessels every year. The specialized floats will simplify entering and exiting the water in locations where the shoreline does not allow for easy access due to rocky shorelines and significant tidal changes.
Town of Barnstable: $25,000
- The town will make repairs at the state boat ramp at Blish Point on Barnstable Harbor. The ramp is in serious need of repair, showing cracks and potholes. This heavily used facility is the only reasonable and accessible boat access to Cape Cod Bay for eight miles in either direction.
City of Newburyport: $13,000
- The city will install solar lights and a washdown system at a popular fishing pier at Cashman Park. The lights will provide safety for night anglers and the washdown will allow for bait scraps to be washed away, improving sanitary conditions on the pier.
By law, a full one-third of the money collected from your saltwater fishing permit must be spent on improving public access. This means that DMF will constantly work to ensure that your access to our incredible coastal waters continues to improve!
For more public access information and an interactive map of all funded projects please check out www.mass.gov/service-details/saltwater-fishing-public-access