NEW BEDFORD â€” Taken from the hands of fishing violators, 28 rods and reels will soon be used to teach children how to fish.
Massachusetts Environmental Police Major Patrick J. Moran, chief of the agency’s Coastal Bureau, is donating the saltwater rods and reels to the Buzzards Bay Anglers Club to help children ages 7 to15 discover the joy of fishing at one of its clinics.
“I remember when my father took me fishing for the first time. What a great experience it was. That feeling has stayed with me to this day,” Moran said. “It’s a chance for a first-time fisher to have that experience.”
The rods and reels were seized in 2017 and 2018 from violators of the state’s fishing regulations â€” undersized fish, fishing over the limit, for exampleÂ â€” and thenÂ forfeitedÂ to the Massachusetts Environmental Police by the courtsÂ after the conclusion of the cases.
They were leaning against a desk Wednesday morning in the middle of the MEP’s offices on State Pier in New Bedford. They looked the same as when they were seized with sinkers on some of the poles, Moran said.
“We’re cleaning house before a new season,” said Moran, who is in his 37th year with the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
Although used, the saltwater fishing rods with the reels still have value. Moran estimated the 28 fishing poles and reels are worth about $60 apiece and have a total value of $1,680.
Moran said they donate most of what they seize to local charities and food banks. “Anyone who will take fresh fish,” he said.
Moran applied the same logic when it came to donating the fishing rods and reels. Casting about for ideas, he reached out to The Standard-Times. “My main thought was kids, veterans and seniors,” he said.
He then contacted Mary S. Rapoza, director of the New Bedford Parks Recreation and Beaches, for more suggestions and she led him to the Buzzards Bay Anglers Club.
The Buzzards Bay Anglers Club co-sponsors fishing clinics at Fort Taber Club in New Bedford. Clinics are June 22 and Sept. 22. A representative of the Buzzards Bay Anglers Club was not available for comment.
“We wanted to keep it local,” Moran said.
Follow Curt Brown on Twitter @CurtBrown_SCT