A mooring mess

A major political splash is being made in Tremont where questions have been raised about the transfer of a mooring used by a waterfront-dependent business when it was sold.

The Harbor Committee, perhaps mindful of the valuable service that the business and others like it have provided to fishermen and recreational boaters alike for generations, voted to allow the transfer. An opposing faction, however, argues the mooring should revert to the town and be given to the next person on the waiting list.

Tremont’s harbor ordinances exist for the sole purpose of regulating and protecting the vitality of the town’s top economic asset. With that in mind, it seems the Harbor Committee made a wise choice to keep the range of options for goods and services available to maritime interests as broad as possible.

As currently worded, Tremont’s mooring rules specify that mooring permits in the federal dredge area be issued only to “a human person.” If that means no business-owned moorings, then every fisherman who pays the annual fee from a business or corporate account, rather than with a personal check, technically may be in violation should their mooring be in the federal area.

Tremont’s rules allow the automatic transfer of moorings among members of fishing families, which acknowledges the importance of those families to the town’s traditions. The main beneficiaries are succeeding generations of lobstermen. But to grant those individual commercial businesses special continuity status while denying the privilege to equally vital associated enterprises, such as boatyards, fuel and service piers and bait stations, seems counterintuitive.

Rather than spend political capital and waste vitriol on second guessing the Harbor Committee here, all harbor interests should work together to determine what rule changes need to be made to provide equal treatment concerning mooring permits for all water-dependent commercial businesses.

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