Recreational fishing continues, but social distancing applies

May 4, 2020

With widespread cancellations of summer events, closed bars, and restaurants limited to takeout and delivery, recreational fishing is one of the few summer activities that can continue through the pandemic. However, officials stress that social distancing must still be maintained while on or near the water.

Wareham resident Brian Bartel spent Sunday afternoon fishing off the pier at Besse Park on Main Street. While there were a few others on the pier, there was plenty of space for everyone to keep their distance. 

“This is the best thing you can do right now,” the fisherman said, “because you can space out [from others] and you’re outside.” 

For those who prefer being out on the open water, fishing from boats is still allowed, but there are some new regulations ordered by Governor Charlie Baker. Boaters are not allowed to be on the same boat with anyone who does not live with them. Tying boats together is prohibited, as is loitering near boat ramps.

According to Harbormaster Garry Buckminster, recreational shellfishing is still allowed in Wareham, but “social distancing applies” for those who choose to hit the water. 

Buckminster stressed that shellfishers should enter public waters only “for that one specific purpose,” and should not be gathering with others while out in the water.

He added that only those with licenses should be shellfishing. 

Although the Harbormaster’s office is closed to the public due to the pandemic, shellfishing licenses can be purchased via credit card, or by sending a check in the mail. 

To request a shellfishing licence, call 508-291-3100 extension 3180 between 8:30 a.m. and noon, Monday through Thursday.

Overall, Buckminster said that he expects recreational shellfishing this season to be consistent with previous years because although it may take slightly longer to issue licenses, they will likely be in high demand due to the lack of other recreational opportunities.