Big fishing talks slated between Tiverton, DEM officials

A fishing tournament on Stafford Pond reservoir. A fishing tournament on Stafford Pond reservoir.

Coventry Bass Anglers gather shortly before 7 a.m., start of tournament April 28.

Coventry Bass Anglers gather shortly before 7 a.m., start of tournament April 28.

TIVERTON — Fishing tournaments and the drinking water quality of Stafford Pond will be among the topics discussed at a high level meeting Wednesday, May 15 at 9 a.m. in the headquarters of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

That is when DEM Director Janet Coit, and her Associate Director for Natural Resources Catherine Sparks, will meet with nearly a dozen officials from the Town of Tiverton to discuss concerns the town officials have about the 16 fishing tournaments scheduled for this fishing season on the pond.

Tiverton has set a hearing for May 28 to consider local ordinances that would regulate certain aspects of the tournaments that impact local health, welfare, and safety.

The Wednesday meeting is a follow-up to an earlier meeting about the tournaments held on February 28, at which time town and department officials who had gathered had agreed to meet again on the subject, at a time to be determined.

A tournament boat from Coventry Bass Anglers speeds to a new fishing spot across Stafford Pond, April 28.

A tournament boat from Coventry Bass Anglers speeds to a new fishing spot across Stafford Pond, April 28.

Concerns have been expressed by town officials about the horsepower of boats allowed on the pond during tournaments (some have as high as 250 HP, and most are in the range of 150-225 HP), safety, contamination, the need for trash receptacles and Porta Potties at pond side, and parking.

DEM owns and manages the the boat ramp leading into the water.  Roy Costa, who heads Team RI Bassmasters, a club that fished the pond on Sunday, April 21, calls it “an extremely treacherous ramp. There’s rocks everywhere.”

Town officials include: Peter Forrest, Carl Destremps, and Frank Raposa from the Stonebridge Fire District (which provides water to many residents in town); Patricia Hilton, Peter Mello, and Tom Ramotowski from the town Conservation Commission; Jim Goncalo, Town Administrator; Andrew Teitz, Town Solicitor; Town Council member Bill Gerlach; Senator Walter Felag, and Representative Jay Edwards.

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