Report of the
Harbormaster/Natural Resources Department 1978


The Natural Resources Department is responsible for the enforcement of all shellfish and herring regulations, propa­gation, maintenance and monitoring water safety standards in these areas. As harbormasters and wharfingers we main­tain Town piers and floats including the total operation of Saquatucket Municipal Marina. We are pleased to report an­other successful year, the highlights of which are summarized here.


Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (Red Tide) forced the clos­ure of Pleasant Bay to all shellfishing from June 9 for one week. We gave complete cooperation to DEQE by collecting live shellfish samples from each of our shellfishing areas on several occasions. Two cases of clammers Itch were reported once again this season. Notably, cases of this severe rash have occurred only where softshell clams were hand dug from Muddy Creek or Allen Harbor.


Commercial shellfishermen had a tough season overall, only 300 bushels of quahogs were reported landed during 1978. This no doubt represents the hard fishing effort that the Bay has received over the last ten years. However, this decline In production is not limited to our Town but seems to be part of the big picture Cape-wide. Tighter regulations coupled with strong propagation efforts may help lengthen the productive season, but without a good young set of quahogs in Pleasant Bay this trend will continue. Commercial she11fishermen were limited to 80 lbs of shellfish per day when the harbors were opened November 15. Additionally Allen Harbor was kept closed to all commercial shellfishing during 1978.


The Department maintained a steady record of marine patrols through June, July and August. 48 tows and rescues were logged by this department, the greatest number ever. Our aid to the Coast Guard by picking up tows thus freeing their vessels for more important work further offshore be­came routine. We also maintained good working relations with the Coast Guard on VHF radio. The Chatham Coast Guard team was instrumental in investigating minor oil spills at our harbors. One oil slick at Saquatucket in August re­quired an actual spill cleanup operation of an estimated 40 gallons of diesel fuel. A huge vacuum truck was used to suck up the isolated spill. Wadding paper further mopped up the slick. An indictment was sought against the violator by the the Water Pollution Control Board.


On June 8, a dead 10 ton humpback whale drifted ashore at Wyndemere Bluff. The smelly carcass had to be dragged off the beach and towed to Sea Street where it could be broken up and taken to the disposal area by Highway Depart­ment loader and trucks. The skull of this whale now sits in the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster.


Saquatucket Municipal Marina had its usual super sea­son. The sailing weather this summer was as nice as any we could remember with way less fog days than usual. Revenue from the harbors again broke the previous season's record. At Saquatucket 22 of the original power centers were replaced With Hubbell fiberglass power units. The remaining original power centers will be replaced over the next few years.


With a blossoming mature sea scallop bed in local waters came a new industry to the south side of the Cape, Sea Scal­loping. Scallop draggers both local and as far away as Maine enjoyed a prosperous year. Nearly 180 tons of shucked sea scallop meats were landed here at Harwich. Slips were rented to these vessels when they could be; however, conflicts at the offloading float and competition for offloading space caused serious problems for our local fishing fleet. Additionally, tra­ditional conflicts between recreational boaters and commer­cial fishermen resulted.


Cognizant of these problems we proposed regulations, for review by the Harwich Waterways Committee, that we felt would insure the protection of the Interests of our local fisher­men and recreational boat owners here. The new regulations were drafted and implemented by the Board of Selectmen and have been added to our regular list of harbor regulations. The new regulations are as follows:


Regulation 4 to be deleted and a new section 4 to read as follows:


4. Because of structural limitations and limited offloading space, no commercial boat 50' or over in length or displacing more than 40 gross tons can be accommodated.


23. Transient commercial vessels may rent dock space, if available, between Labor Day and May 30 only. Commercial dockage between June 1 and Labor Day shall be limited to those boats holding applicable leases only.


24. The above space limitation shall be effective for all Town-owned slips including Saquatucket Harbor Marina, and offloading sites at Wychmere Harbor, Saquatucket Harbor and Allen's Harbor.


25. Security and Damage Deposit. All boats renting dock space on a daily, weekly or monthly basis between Labor Day and May 30 are required to pay 'the Harbormaster before occupying any slip a Security and Damage Deposit, to be held by the Town in escrow and refunded to the owner or master of the vessel on termination of the rental agreement provided that during the period the vessel is in the harbor  (a.) all accumulated dockage fees have been paid when due; (b.) all Rules and Regulations of the Harbor and all lawful orders oi the Harbormaster have been complied with by the vessel and all its crew and (c.) no damage has been caused by the vessel or crew to any of the Harbor Facilities. If any of the above conditions have not been complied with, the security deposit shall be forfeited to the Town and no portion shall be re­funded and not withstanding forfeiture of the deposit the Town shall have the right to proceed against the vessel, its owner, master or crew In any proceeding, criminal or civil to (a.) enforce its Rules and Regulations and Orders; (b.) re­cover for any damage done to harbor facilities or (c.) recover for any dockage fee due.


Because of the great and increasing number of inquiries for berthing space the Town has decided beginning this year to charge for the privilege of placing and keeping one's name and address on the waiting lists. Names on the list shall be advanced from year to year only if the annual fee ($15) is paid and slips will be assigned to the parties whose names have been on the list longest as space becomes available. This fifteen dollar annual fee is non-refundable but is applicable to the first year's dockage.



As a result of Article 79 of the 1978 Annual Town Meet­ing, some very positive work has been done in securing good plans and grant money for the rebuilding of Pogies Wharf and the Town landing at Wychmere Harbor. $4800 in match­ing grant money was secured from Coastal Zone Management Office for this purpose. Our share was $1200. A basic plan for this area has been worked up by Tibbetts Consulting .Engineers of New Bedford. Further, grants for construction) f this project are being sought by our proven grants-man, Robert Spongeberg. Hopefully, this project may become re­ality within two years.

The Board of Selectmen appointed a three man Commer­cial Fisheries Activities Study Committee (CO/V1FAC) at the request of Sherrill Smith, Division of Marine Fisheries field agent and former harbormaster of Harwich Port. Tom Leach, Capt. Ted Brown and Nat Sperber are appointees. For the progress of COMFAC please read the report of this commit­tee. With the new harbor proposal in this report Saquatucket marina takes on a different and exciting perspective.



Saquatucket Harbor


Wychmere Harbor


Allen Harbor


             Total                          $88,213.19



                                                                                                                        SHELLFISH PERMITS ISSUED

Family resident






Senior Citizen






                                                                                                                        Total                              $2,318


The following statistics were compiled from our 1978 logbook:


            Rescues and Tows                                                                  48

            Boats pumped out                                                                  50

            Boats loose                                                                            12

            Boats missing                                                                            7

            Boats reported stolen                                                                4

            Boats recovered                                                                       2
            Channel markers and regulatory buoys in service                     39

            Fires on board                                                                          2

            Lighted aids to navigation maintained                                         1

            Motorboat warnings issued                                                       5

            Motorboat violations court cases                                               1

            Herring warnings written                                                           3

            Shellfish warnings written                                                        16
            Mooring Permits Wychmere Harbor and outer harbor           147

            Mooring permits Alien Harbor                                                40

            Mooring permits Herring River                                                61

            Mooring permits Round Cove                                                130

            Mooring permits Pleasant Bay                                                 19

            Oil spills                                                                                    8
            Quahogs transplanted to Wychmere in bushels                        202
            Quahogs transplanted to Allen Harbor in bushels                     218

            Quahogs transplanted to Round Cove                                       53



We noticed a huge decline in thefts occurring at Allen Harbor this season. This can be attributed to two reasons First, a permanent seasonal patrolman in the Allen Harbor area. Secondly, new bulkhead and parking lot lighting in the Allen Harbor parking area.


As an addendum to 1977 report, the Wychmere Harbor jetty light, day beacon and tower were replaced during the early fall.


Our appreciation goes out to all Town Departments and citizens who helped out the Natural Resources Department throughout the year. Cooperation was excellent. We can be thankful that our Town is staffed by such beautiful people.


Respectfully submitted,


THOMAS E. LEACH, Natural Resources Officer Harbormaster

DONALD F. RYDER, Assistant