Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I am a captain of a boat that participates in the shark tournament. We have been fishing this tournament for a long time. I first will say I really do enjoy the town of Oak Bluffs and usually things seemed to go off without a hitch. I frequent the town as well with my family and friends for dinner and drinks and shopping multiple times during the summer season.
Now on to the tournament. Whether you agree with the fishing part of the tournament or not isn’t why I am writing this letter. I find it unbelievable that you are trying to push the tournament out after all the years we have been there and what has become a very busy tourist weekend for the town. How can you justify this extortion fee for use of the harbor for slips and mooring? It’s borderline discrimination. How do you think we will feel paying this fee when we are participating in the tournament when the vessel next to me who maybe not participating doesn’t have to pay this fee? I understand that there maybe more need for police staff, garbage cleanup etc. But why are the boats in the tournament being punished for this? Speaking for myself, I will probably be on land a total of five hours a day, as we will be fishing for most of the other time. Do you really think that the participants of the tournament have more trash? Or are more publicly intoxicated to warrant police staff? My team as well as most of the people in this tournament have millions of dollars tied up in vessels and gear and time for this tournament. So pretty safe to say those people wont be partying until 2 a.m. since most of us leave pretty early in the morning to go fishing. Does this extra fee paid by tournament participants get us our own private porta-potties? If we are paying this extra fee and other participants are not, we should get our own special toilets, dumpster, etc. right? Don’t you think it’s possible that the other boats that will be in the harbor all day long while we’re out fishing may also be a big cause of the problem you speak of? How about the people sitting on the beach all day or in the bar all afternoon; don’t you think they could be a big cause of the problem?
Unfortunately the way the town has treated us this year has taken a toll. I will not be coming over to the town anymore with my family and friends to enjoy ourselves and relax. If the town doesn’t think we’re good enough to be there during shark week, then we aren’t going to be giving the town or any of the businesses any more money by coming.
I do hope in the future the tournament is moved to a different location. And I won’t be sad to see Oak Bluffs be left behind. The town itself may not get the immediate impact of not hosting the tournament but I am sure business will be impacted greatly.
I look forward to coming to Oak Bluffs this year and hope the town realizes the effects the tournament actually has on the economy in the area.
AJ Johnson, Pittsfield