By Rachel Nunes.
A Rhode Island lawmaker is calling for local fisherman to be allowed to sell shellfish directly to customers. Rep. Joseph M. McNamara sent a letter to Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit, calling for her to change the policy for shellfishers.
“Giving these shellfishermen permission to do this would be a service to the community,” McNamara said. “Especially at a time when people are looking for sustainable, nutritious foods that they can get directly from the harvesters. This is an invaluable opportunity to fulfill a need of the populace as well as help an industry that’s facing a cutback in demand at a time that is traditionally their busiest season.”
McNamara pointed out the disparity between shellfishers and loberstermen, who are allowed to sell their products directly.
“Lobstermen have been granted permission to sell their products at retail,” he wrote in the letter to Coit. “I believe that this disparity between lobstermen and shellfishermen are based on a negative perception that commercial shellfishermen somehow do not handle their products safely. This prejudice is totally unfounded, today’s shellfishermen are extremely careful and knowledgeable about the handling and storage of shellfish. It is for this reason I believe that an equitable solution that would allow these professional fishermen to sell their product to the public, should be allowed.”
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