Following a heated public hearing Tuesday night, Tisbury selectmen voted to allow properly permitted commercial fishing boats to dock for up to two hours on the south side of the Lake Street Landing pier. Selectmen punted on a request to change anchorage time limits from three days to seven.
Prior to the vote, discussion grew heated and personal. Charter captain Lynn Fraker said time limits did not matter, because of lax enforcement.
Ms. Fraker said Harbormaster Jay Wilbur preferred to “bully” those who speak up, rather than enforce the regulations. She also claimed selectmen “condone the bullying.”
Eugene Decosta said he agreed with Lynn Fraker “110 percent.” He said all the Island towns have a 20-minute limit for commercial fisherman. “There’s no communication down there, there’s no accountability, and there’s no enforcement,” he said.
Mr. Wilbur said it would be difficult to monitor the dock in 20-minute intervals, given the limited staff.
Town manager Jay Grande suggested that lack of regulation was the root of dock drama. Selectman Melinda Loberg agreed. “Until we make rules, we can’t ask people to comply,” she said.
Selectmen voted unanimously for the two-hour limit.
A proposed change in the number of days boaters may anchor in Tashmoo, Lagoon Pond, and both the inner and outer harbor from three to seven days generated considerable discussion about the need for rules in the outer harbor.
Nat Benjamin of Gannon and Benjamin said rules curtailing outer-harbor anchorage were “extremely rude” to vacationing boater families. Mr. Decosta called such regulation “very unfriendly.”
Planning Board Chairman Dan Seidman and Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard owner Phil Hale both spoke against outer-harbor regulation.
Mr. Wilbur saw value in regulating outer-harbor anchoring time.
“I don’t believe it’s burdensome to encourage people to use their boats when they come here for the summer, rather than use them as dormitories,” he said.
He said that Edgartown allows no anchorage in Katama Bay, and that Newport, R.I., recently implemented similar restrictions. Selectmen tabled the matter for later.