Bourne Selectmen Review Shellfishing Regulations

BOURNE – Bourne selectmen are considering several amendments to the town’s shellfishing regulations. 

The changes presented by Department of Natural Resources director Christopher  Southwood included adjustments to permitted shellfishing times, required equipment and a change in fees for veterans.

Several fishermen in Bourne initially approached Southwood about possible amendments to the regulations, to which he agreed.

“They include basic things that need to be updated, anyway. Some of these regulations have been in hand for over 35 years,” said Southwood.

One of the changes is specific to the bushel container used for shellfshing.

Currently, shellfishermen are required to use a rigid, plastic bushel tote roughly similar to a large milk crate.

“They’re old, hard to get, they’re expensive. Most of the other towns now allow a basket that’s still a bushel size. It’s easier to carry—it helps with the labor,” said Southwood.

Another amendment was aimed at adjusting the regulated fishing times.

Southwood noted that the times shellfishermen are allowed to be active in Bourne—sunrise to 6pm during Daylight Savings Time and sunrise to 4:30 pm during Standard Time— are in the minority of Cape towns by not allowing shellfishing all the way up to sunset.

Southwood also pointed out that shellfishing is currently restricted on Saturdays, another restriction mostly unique to Bourne.

Southwood said a change to the times would allow bigger harvests or better cooperation with the tides, especially in the summer months when days are longer.

The proposed amendment would also change the cost of permits for veterans in accordance with the state’s adoption of The Brave Act in August.

Following with the new act, veterans living anywhere in Massachusetts cannot be charged more than the residential permit fee of $35, as opposed to the non-Bourne resident fee of $175.

Veterans 65 and older would only have to pay the senior resident rate of $10.

“It’s the least that we can do for someone that served our country,” said Southwood.

Southwood pointed out that changes to the regulations need to be approved by the end of the year, and that some amendments could be put off until a later date based on priority.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at the Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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