Somers, Rep. Staneski work to help shell fishermen

March 23, 2017

State Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, and State Rep. Pam Staneski, R-Milford, said they are encouraged by recent actions in the legislature that will help promote growth in Connecticut’s shellfish industry.

The Legislature’s Environment Committee voted to approve legislation that will allow for additional state certified testing to handle the growing industry and ensure that samples from shellfish beds along the state coast are properly screened before sale.

“We have made some great progress on a commitment to our shellfish industry,” said Somers. “There is potential for job creation, so action is critical.”

Somers met with numerous shellfish company owners and fishermen last fall and this year to determine how to cut the various costs in time and accessibility of tissue and water sampling.

Staneski and Somers praised the Department of Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over the shellfish industry in working with all the parties to find a common sense solution that doesn’t add costs to the taxpayers but sends a clear message that the shellfish industry has tremendous growth potential.

“Shellfish is critical to our economy and the environment,” said Staneski. “Allowing additional resources to expedite sales while maintaining standards is everyone’s goal.”

A strong partnership is essential for shellfish safety and growth, Somers said. The state has invested $5.3 million in bonding for shellfish seeding which has grown to 7,000 acres of shellfish farms along coastal waters. Private companies have also invested heavily in bedding and preservation of these environmentally sensitive areas.