1783. - Chapter 4.
[May session, Ch. 4.]
Wereas the laws of this Commonwealth already made, for the preservation of the fish called Alewives, appear to this Court to be insufficient for the preservation of the said fish in the river called Weweantett river, in the county of Plymouth ; and for the better preservation of the said fish in the said river :
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by authority of the same, That no seine, dragnet or marshnet, be stretched, set or drawn in the said river, or in any of its branches, arms or creeks of the same, or in any of the dependencies thereof, above the rock in the said river called Toonsuk rock, from and after the first day of April until the first day of June, annually ; and if any person or persons shall persume to set, stretch or draw any seine, dragnet or marshnet, in the said river, within the time aforesaid, he or they so offending, shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifty pounds for each offense, to be recovered by action of debt in any Court proper to try the same ; the one moity to the use of the towns of Rochester, Plympton and that part of Wareham which was originally part of Rochester, and every seine, dragnet or marshnet, with its appurtenances so set, stretched or drawn, shall be forfeited to the use of said towns.
And be it further enacted, That no wares, kiddles or fish girths be made in the said river or any of the branches thereof, by any person or persons, on pain of forfeiting the sum of five pounds for each offense, to be recovered in manner aforesaid.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no fish be taken in the said river or any of the branches thereof, with any other engine or instrument than a dipnet or scoopnet, on penalty of forfeiting the sum of ten pounds, to be recovered in manner aforesaid and for the use aforesaid.
And be it further enacted, That no stage or platform shall be erected for the purpose of taking the fish in the said river, but such as may be erected on the banks of the said river, and not to exceed further than the waters edge, on penalty of ten shillings for every such offense, to be recovered by action of debt before any Justice of the Peace in the said county of Plymouth ; one moiety thereof to him or them who shall sue for the same, and the other moiety to the use of the said towns as above said ; and the materials of all such stage or stage’s, platform or platforms, so erected against this act, shall be forfeited to him or them who shall seize upon, demolish or take possession of the same ; and if any action or actions shall be brought by any person or persons who thus erected the said stage or stages, platform or platforms as aforesaid, against him or them who thus seized or demolished the same, he or they against whom such action or actions are brought, may plead the general issue and give this act in evidence for his discharge.
And whereas the banks adjoining the said river, in many places are covered with wood and brush, and evil minded persons do frequently make obstructions in the said river under cover of the said wood and brush : For the prevention thereof in the future,
Be it enacted, That no obstructions shall be made to the fish in passing up or down the said river, by placing stones, brush or other encumbrances, for the more safe and effectual taking of fish, on penalty of five pounds, to be recovered in any Court proper to try the same, and to ensure to the uses as is already by this act provided.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid,
That no person or persons shall hereafter, on any pretence whatsoever, presume to take any fish in the said river, at any time or at any place or places, other than such as shall be prefixed by one or more persons chosen by the towns of Rochester, Plymouth and Wareham, at their annual town meeting in the month of March ; each of which towns is hereby authorized and empowered, at their said annual meeting, to make choice of one or more suitable person or persons to meet with others to be chosen for that purpose, to agree on the time or times when, and places where, fish in the said river shall be taken, on penalty of five pounds for each offense, to be recovered in the same way, and for the same purposes, as is already in this act provided.