There’s a new environmental police sergeant in town, and while he doesn’t live on the Vineyard, Matt Bass is nevertheless a familiar face around the Island shoreline. He worked for The Trustees of Reservations on Chappaquiddick in the early 1990s, and after that he went on to work at the Cape Cod National Seashore for several years before becoming a state environmental police officer.

And now Sergeant Bass, 39, replaces Sgt. Pat Grady as the environmental police officer for the Vineyard. Charged with enforcing environmental laws on water and on land, much of his work involves interacting with fishermen and hunters.

Newly assigned to the Vineyard, this summer he has written two criminal summons and handed out a half dozen noncriminal citations. But for the most part, he said he has handed out a lot of information about recreational fishing regulations and boating requirements.

And he says working with the public and sharing a concern about protecting natural resources are key factors in his career choice.

“I liked being outdoors and everything else came after that,” he said in an interview with the Gazette early this week.

Mr. Bass is married to an Island native — Brigitte Penicaud grew up in Vineyard Haven. They live in Bourne and have three children.

Most mornings he commutes to the Vineyard in a 23-foot center console Parker with twin 150-horsepower outboard motors. Since being assigned to the Vineyard as the sole environmental police officer, Mr. Bass said he has only had to rely on the Steamship Authority ferry service once.

He has a desk at the former Massachusetts State Lobster Hatchery in Oak Bluffs, and spends the remainder of his office time on a laptop, at home or in his vehicle.

On the job now for two months, Mr. Bass said he has received support from the Island harbor masters, local police and the Coast Guard.

A big part of his job, he said, involves educating fishermen, boaters and hunters about state regulations.

He said he uses discretion in deciding whether to issue a citation, and has developed an instinct for whether someone is deliberately breaking the law or simply uninformed about the rules. Knowingly catching and keeping undersized fish can earn a fisherman a noncriminal citation.

He issued two criminal citations in mid-July to fishermen on a 76-foot Rhode Island dragger that was illegally harvesting squid south of Squibnocket. The out-of-state fishermen lacked a permit and the mesh size of their net was too small.

Currently Mr. Bass is investigating possible lobster poaching in the waters south of Noman’s Land. Commercial and recreational lobstermen have reported that their pots are being illegally tended.

Last Friday while out in the Vineyard Sound, Mr. Bass discovered a swamped fishing boat with no occupants. He later found out that a short time earlier a good Samaritan had rescued two fishermen who were in the water after their 18-foot boat sank.

When the fishing season winds down in another month or so, Mr. Bass will shift his attention to hunting season.

He said he welcomes tips and suggestions, and can be reached through the communications center nonemergency line at 508-693-1212, or the environmental state police radio dispatch at 1-800-632-8075. He can also be reached by e-mail at