Shellfish industry reps say state has them 'under siege'

Representatives from Connecticut's shellfish industry, Connecticut state representatives, municipal officials  and other supporters of the shellfishing industry plan to hold a press conference in Milford Wednesday to discuss state regulations they say will negatively impact the  industry.

“Connecticut's shellfishing industry, one of oldest in the nation, is under siege by the State of Connecticut,” according to a press release from representatives of the shellfishing industry.

“The Department of Agriculture has, without advanced notification to the shellfishing industry, typically small, family-run operations, forced new leases upon shellfishing companies for lease of state-owned coastal aquatic land used for shellfish beds,” the press release continues. “In many instances, these leases were issued to the shellfishermen long after the conclusion of a state run bidding process under which prior years' terms and conditions were presented.”

Industry representatives said the state can now cancel the lease with the shellfishing companies “at will” for no cause, at any time

“Upon termination of the lease, the shellfish companies are required to waive their right to their product — their shellfish — which lie in various states of maturity on coastal beds,” the press release continues.

The press conference is slated for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Milford Aquaculture Center at 212 Rogers Avenue.

The Milford Mirror will be covering the press conference. Check back to read more about what industry representatives have to say, as well as what state officials have to say about the matter.