The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) Board today voted to reaffirm its commitment to the Fish Pier as a working pier for commercial fishing use and other maritime support services. While Massport has always regarded the Fish Pier as a Designated Port Area, the authority guaranteed this status today by agreeing to negotiate lease extensions of up to 25 years for current tenants. In addition, Massport will prioritize the Fish Pier for commercial fishing vessels and support industries such as ice manufacturing, net repair, net storage and fueling.
"As one of the key defenders of traditional maritime activity in Boston Harbor, we have an obligation to retain valuable land next to deep berths for our historic fishing industry," said Lowell Richards, Massport's chief development officer.
To complement the active fishing taking place from the pier, Massport is currently engaged in an innovative effort with the City of Boston that creates a vibrant fish processing district on the Massport Marine Terminal (North Jetty). In 2000, Massport approved lease terms (with minimal income to Massport) and provided a $10 million guaranty necessary to finance the private development of a 65,000 sq. ft. fish processing facility on the Massport Marine Terminal. In 2001, Massport approved lease terms for Legal Sea Foods to relocate its headquarters and central fish processing facility to the Massport Marine Terminal.
Elsewhere in the Harbor, Massport is redeveloping the East Boston Waterfront with plans to revitalize the shipyard and provide local boats with a repair facility within Boston Harbor. The shipyard is expected to receive a multi-million dollar investment from the development team, Roseland/SeaChain.
Since 1972, Massport has operated the fish processing portion of the Fish Pier at a net operating budget loss, without considering depreciation or indirect, allocated costs such as insurance; in fiscal 2001 that net loss exceeded $100,000. Over the last 30 years, the accumulated loss has grown to well over $2 million.
Massport has expended $29.5 million on improvements and repairs to the pier itself, the buildings (East and West Fish Pier) and the fish processing areas within the East and West buildings. Of this amount, $8.5 million was reimbursed by the U.S Economic Development Agency.