2010-02-18 / Editorial


Proposal to ban casting, not fishing, at town pier

We received a copy of a proposal at the Jamestown Press this week asking that the Jamestown Harbor Commission and the Jamestown Town Council consider prohibiting the casting of fishing tackle from the East Ferry town-owned wood-pile pier.

Now before people get all riled up, it is important to note that they are not asking that fishing be banned from the pier – just the casting of fishing tackle. People can still fish by dropping a hook over the side of the pier.

The action plan was drafted by Jamestown attorney John Murphy for his client Bill Munger, who owns Conanicut Marine Services.

CMS leases the wood-pile pier from the town.

The simple proposal states that currently, the town has a big safety problem at the pier because the pier is used by private fishermen, citizens walking on the pier, and commercial and recreational boaters.

There is a major conflict among those users.

The proposal says:

“Specifically, the user conflict of concern here is the casting of fishing tackle (hook, line, and sinker) by recreational fishermen from the Town’s piers and floats at East Ferry. This practice creates a dangerous condition for boaters (both commercial and recreational) who are attempting to use adjacent public waterways and the Town’s piers and floats.

“There is no significant problem created by fishing without casting. It is the casting that creates the safety hazard.

“The casting of lines, with hooks and lead sinkers attached, creates an untenable hazard for boaters navigating the narrow fairways and lanes near the Town’s pier and floats. Should a boater, or guest on a vessel, be injured as a result of this practice, it is not unreasonable to expect that all parties having any responsibility, however tangential, for allowing/tolerating that practice to be the target of liability claims made by the injured parties.”

The action plan includes documentation of fish hook accidents that have occurred at the wood-pile pier. The pictures of fish hooks in the eyes are enough to make one cringe.

I must note that I have experienced a few close calls myself as I have motored my dinghy past the woodpile pier. It is not a safe situation. There is a large amount of boater traffic on both sides of the pier. Citizens also walk along the pier as it is considered public access for all. Casting fishing tackle into this melee is dangerous to those of us on the receiving end.

This should be a quick and simple fix. The Harbor Commission should post signs banning the casting of fishing tackle. Police and the harbormaster should be tasked with enforcement.

Problem solved.

— Jeff McDonough

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