Falmouth weighs fishing restrictions, limiting dinghies

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FALMOUTH — The town is considering new restrictions on recreational fishing at Town Landing, and limiting the number of dinghy permits at double the cost.

Harbormaster Alan Twombley said the new rules, if approved by the Town Council, would apply between sundown and sunrise and limit fishermen to only using the commercial floats as a base during those hours.

“Fishing at night has been the biggest issue,” Twombley said in advance of this week’s Harbor/Waterfront Committee meeting, which was scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday at the police station.

“We get a lot of folks down there fishing in the wee hours, and they leave behind fish hooks, fish guts and trash,” he said, which is why the committee is recommending the new restrictions.

Many of those who fish at night are also after squid, which often “leaves a big mess, with ink squirted all over,” according to Twombley. This is a problem for the town, he said, even though a carry-in, carry-out policy applies at the landing.

He said the Harbor/Waterfront Committee initially considered banning nighttime fishing altogether, but pulled back, deciding to compromise by limiting night fishing to one section of the landing.

“People come from all over” to fish at Town Landing, Twombley said. “I would say a majority of the people, 75 to 80 percent, are not from Falmouth. But as finding (public) places to fish get harder and harder to find, they’re coming here.”

Twombley said at least with the proposed new rules, night fishing activities would be “confined to one area.”

In addition to restricting night fishing, Twombley said the town is also looking at reducing the total number of dinghy permits allowed per season, while also doubling the price.

The rules now allow 90 permits, 60 residential and 30 for nonresidents, but Twombley said in the past several boating seasons the town has sold 85 or fewer permits and only about 70 are actually used.

Twombley said people often purchase a dinghy permit “just in case,” but with most boaters now using large, inflatable dinghies, there’s simply not enough room at the Town Landing for 90 of the craft.

So, he said, the Harbor/Waterfront Committee is recommending reducing the total number of permits to 60, 40 for residents and 20 for nonresidents.

The committee also asked the council to consider doubling the cost of the permits, to $100 for residents and $200 for nonresidents. The town provides five dinghies at no cost for public use, Twombley said.

Reducing the number of permits and increasing their cost were initially discussed at last week’s council meeting, and will likely be scheduled for a public hearing March 27 at 7 p.m.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

Falmouth is considering restricting fishing at Town Landing and reducing the number of dinghy permits.

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