Connecticut Seal

House Bill No. 7018

Public Act No. 07-74

AN ACT CONCERNING IDENTIFICATION OF HARVESTED SHELLFISH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 26-192k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Department of Agriculture shall allow the relay of shellfish from shellfish grounds classified as restricted relay to other grounds in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance, as amended from time to time, regarding restricted shellfish relay. The department shall allow the harvest of shellfish from shellfish grounds classified as approved for market on the same day using the same vessel, provided the harvester first harvests the approved market product and lands the product to shore. A harvester shall not begin the relay of shellfish from shellfish grounds classified as restricted relay until all shellfish harvested first from approved market grounds, in market quantities, have been removed from the vessel. Such harvester shall not begin such relay until after the harvester has notified the Department of Environmental Protection of such relay. The harvester shall provide all information required by the Department of Agriculture regarding shellfish relays to the Department of Environmental Protection at the time of such notification. For the remainder of the day, the harvester shall not harvest approved market shellfish after beginning such relay.

(b) All tag identification information regarding shellfish harvest locations shall be confidential, provided the harvester of the shellfish marks the tag with a unique code corresponding to the shellfish harvest location. [Such harvester shall provide the Department of Agriculture] The Department of Agriculture shall provide such harvester and the Department of Environmental Protection with a written code key detailing the harvest location and corresponding code to be used by the harvester.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) The Department of Agriculture may, upon written request of a municipality, enter into a memorandum of understanding with such municipality to authorize the health department or similar agency of the municipality to collect sea water samples for the purpose of shellfish harvest water classification. The memorandum of understanding shall not limit the geographic area from which the municipality may collect such samples and shall not be construed to prevent the municipality from collecting or processing samples for the purpose of improving shellfish harvest water classification. The Department of Agriculture shall provide the municipality with support, documentation and training regarding record keeping and sample collection and transport. The municipality shall provide training to any employees or agents it designates to take such samples.  

(b) Samples collected by a municipality shall be collected and processed in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance, as amended from time to time. Such samples shall be processed by a laboratory certified pursuant to said ordinance. The analysis of a sample processed in a laboratory other than a Department of Agriculture laboratory shall be transmitted directly to said department's Bureau of Aquaculture and to the municipality that submitted the sample.

(c) The municipality may, but shall not be required to, assist the Department of Agriculture in sample collection in post rainfall conditions, spill events or routine sampling requirements. The Department of Agriculture shall accept all sample data analysis from samples collected by municipalities pursuant to this section and said department shall include such data analysis in any data base, report, file, calculation or process used by said department to determine or report water quality classification or reclassification.

Sec. 3. Section 26-241 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) All stakes, buoys or other markers placed by any person, except buoys placed by the state, so as to mark the divisional line, in whole or in part, between any private and any public or natural oyster, clam or mussel beds, in any waters of this state, shall have the name or initial of the owner plainly marked and visible at high water. Any corporation or person who fails to comply with the provisions of this section shall have committed an infraction.

(b) A buoy marking oyster, clam or mussel beds pursuant to subsection (a) of this section or section 26-240 shall be constructed with rigid polystyrene foam or similar buoyant material. Such buoy shall support a vertical pole extending not less than ten feet above the top of such buoy and shall be tethered by a rope or line to an anchoring device of sufficient weight to maintain the position of the buoy. The vertical pole shall not exceed three and one-half inches in diameter at any point and shall not be constructed of a metallic material. A durable waterproof flag not less than six inches in height and eight inches in length shall be affixed to the top of the pole.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Jurisdiction of shellfish grounds known as Cockenoe Flats in the town of Westport shall be transferred from the state of Connecticut to the town of Westport and the Westport Shellfish Commission shall have jurisdiction over recreational clamming in said shellfish grounds and the ability to issue recreational clamming permits for the use of said grounds by all state residents.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective from passage) A resource assessment permit issued by the Department of Agriculture for the purpose of assessing the viability of a shellfish area shall not authorize more than one hundred acres of assessment area per permit. Said department shall require the placement of buoys at each corner of the assessment area, as defined by the permit applicant, prior to the start of any assessment. Said department shall notify all abutting shellfish ground owners or lease holders of the issuance of such permit not later than five days prior to the effective date of the permit.

Approved May 30, 2007