Massachusetts Appeals Court Upholds Applicability of WPA to Commercial Fishing Techniques Using Hydraulic Dredging Methods

The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the applicability of the state’s Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) to commercial fishing activities using hydraulic dredging methods on land under ocean and nearshore areas, clarifying municipal authority to impose additional requirements on activities in wetlands in relation to shell fishing.  However, in the same opinion, the Court concluded that a town bylaw prohibiting hydraulic dredging in nearshore areas without a permit is preempted by state law as applied to sea clam and quahog harvesting. In Aqua King Fishery, the Conservation Commission of Provincetown alleged that Aqua King Fishery, LLC violated both Provincetown’s Wetlands Bylaw and the WPA when it failed to obtain the Commission’s approval for the use of hydraulic dredge fishing gear for commercial sea clam fishing near Provincetown’s shore. click here to read the story 16:22

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