Arguments against planned fish pier are groundless


To the Editor:

Harvey Russell’s letter last week (Sept. 23, “Do we need a fishing pier“), responding to Dave Nash’s constructive comments (Sept. 2, “Many reasons for the fish pier where it’s planned“) on the pier got my blood boiling. It is mind boggling to me how an “avid fisherman” on this Island doesn’t think that a free, dedicated fishing pier would be an asset to the community, unless perhaps he does charter fishing within walking distance of the proposed pier and/or lives across the street from it.

Let me ask you, Mr. Russell, when you were a kid fishing that SSA pier, how many trips did you take on a charter fishing boat? The fact is, kids who have the desire to fish will not just migrate to this pier but will become regular fixtures on that pier. It will be the focal point for those wanting and needing easy access but unable to afford the luxury of hiring you or any other charter captain.

Nearly all of the concerns from the North Bluffers that I have heard are completely baseless and don’t even warrant a formal reply, but let me address the one that seems to be the hot-button issue: the location.

Is this pier in the best possible spot? Frankly, for optimum fishing, it is not. But I don’t see a pier being proposed for Squibnocket Point or Gay Head anytime soon. When you consider the proposed location with proximity to the SSA pier (which holds fish now), and the outflow of the O.B. harbor and its jetty, the deeper water on this side, the fact that this would tie in nicely to the proposed rebuilding of the seawall and new walkway, and then the nearness to a public restroom (a very important element for kids and disabled fishermen) as well as the town itself, it’s in a great location for a fishing pier, especially for entry-level fisherman. Adults and children could walk or bike to the pier from their cottages or homes and fish in a safe, dedicated fishing environment; or an adolescent could be dropped off while the parents enjoy the rest of what O.B. offers.

When was the last time you took a kid fishing from the shore, Mr. Russell? As an avid shore fisherman myself, I know that shore access, especially for kids, kind of stinks.

The only real fishing pier on this Island is the wharf in Edgartown. Great as it is, it is a multifunction facility that has boats tying up to it, ferries coming and going; it has no railing to prevent kids from falling in, and it gets very busy. Frankly, I think this Island needs not one fishing pier, but a dedicated fishing pier in each town.

The other morning, as I was heading out of O.B. harbor in my boat at 6:45 am, I saw a child quietly fishing off the dock where the Island Queen arrives. He was focused and wide awake as he eyed breaking fish in the channel. His mother was sitting in the car with the door open, not far behind him, sipping her hot cup of coffee. He wanted to hop the seawall and climb out on the jetty, which was awash with water, to get a better shot at those breaking fish but I saw him look back at his mom, and he got the headshake no. He continued to fish his spot undaunted. He didn’t bother anyone, he didn’t cause problems, he wasn’t selling drugs or drinking, he wasn’t breaking laws, he wasn’t making noise, he wasn’t littering; he was just fishing.

Please, Mr. Russell, don’t steal the fishing memories away from these kids. You were a fishing kid yourself, and you have those memories. Don’t be so selfish and prevent others from enjoying the same thing you did as a kid. You’re being disingenuous trying to persuade the public with your biased viewpoints on this pier. According to the phone book, you live on Seaview Avenue. I have a feeling this is more about you not wanting it in your line of sight, plus some perceived competition it will cause the O.B. charter boat fleet. You, sir, are just part of the North Bluff cast, assembled to derail this project at all costs.

This pier will be an outright asset to the community. The state has come up with a plan to build this pier at no cost because they recognize it is desperately needed.

The North Bluff area has been a congested place with crowds of people, cars and trucks, buses, boats, ferries, cruise ships, even trains, for more than 200 years, and it will be a busy place for the next 200 years. The North Bluff people knew that when they moved there. It is not a quiet residential area, as they would like you to believe. It is a busy region of the town with much commercial activity.

The MVC should support what is best for the greater good, not the few abutters who have a problem with looking at a simple fishing pier and some kids fishing. The fishing pier will not significantly add to the congestion that currently exists there. Stop with the foolish traffic studies and other delay tactics. It’s a fishing pier, not an expressway.

I urge all residents and visitors to support this dedicated fishing pier by sending a letter to the MVC. ( And try to attend the public hearing at 7 pm, October 7 to express your support. Don’t let the voices of a self-serving few steal the countless memories and experiences of men, women, and children, who just want to fish and experience the true natural beauty of our special Island.

Jim Fraser

Oak Bluffs