WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) applauded a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin restoring U.S. shellfish producers’ access to European markets, and urged them to quickly expand to include Connecticut shellfish. The FDA is soliciting public comment on the decision, which, if finalized, would permit the importation of shellfish harvested from approved growing areas in Massachusetts and Washington initially, although other states – including Connecticut – could be added over time.
In August 2016, Murphy led a letter with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-1), Joe Courtney (CT-2), and Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) advocating for the removal of years-old barriers to shellfish trade and restoration of U.S. shellfish producers’ access to European markets. In the letter, the members emphasized the invaluable economic contributions of Connecticut’s aquaculture industry, and highlighted the enormous untapped potential that access to EU markets could bring to Connecticut shellfish farmers.
“I’ve been on a mission to help expand Connecticut’s shellfish industry,” said Murphy. “Opening up trade between the U.S. shellfish industry is a big deal, but this can only be the start. I’ll be fighting to make sure that Connecticut fisherman can compete and sell our shellfish, which is some of the best in the world.”
Connecticut’s shellfish and aquaculture industry supports over 700 jobs and has an annual economic impact of $47.5 million.