Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 248

    February Session, 2018

Substitute House Bill No. 5359

House of Representatives, April 5, 2018

The Committee on Environment reported through REP. DEMICCO of the 21st Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING SHELLFISH LEASES AND DESIGNATED SHELLFISH PARCELS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM.

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

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 26-194 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, the Commissioner of Agriculture may lease in the name of the state, under such regulations as the commissioner [may prescribe] shall adopt, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, and for a period not longer than ten years, all shellfish areas that have been conveyed to the state or placed under state jurisdiction by the town of West Haven and any undesignated grounds, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the state, for the purpose of planting and cultivating shellfish. The authority herein conferred shall include the Cormell Reef, Portchester, Great Captain's Island, Field Point and Greenwich Point natural beds as located and described in section 3295 of the general statutes, revision of 1918. Any person desiring to lease grounds for such purpose shall make application in writing to the commissioner and all grounds leased by authority of the provisions of this section shall be leased to the highest responsible bidder, for a minimum fee of four dollars per acre. Such lease or lease renewal shall require the lessee to make a good faith effort to cultivate and harvest shellfish from the leased area. Such lease or lease renewal shall prohibit the lessee from entering a contract whereby the lessee agrees not to cultivate and harvest shellfish for any period of time. No lessee may enter an agreement with a third party that will prevent the lessee from carrying out the lessee's obligations under the lease unless the Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General have approved such agreement. The form of such application and lease shall be approved by the Attorney General, and all such leases shall be recorded in the records of the commissioner. No lease shall be granted to a resident of a state which does not lease shellfish grounds to residents of this state, except that any nonresident who was granted a lease on or before October 1, 1985, may, upon the expiration of such lease, apply for a renewal or further lease as provided in this section. The commissioner shall grant any such lease to nonresidents upon the same terms and conditions as to residents of this state. Any lessee or holder of shellfish grounds, on the expiration of any lease thereof which has been or which may be granted, having fulfilled all of such lessee's or holder's obligations under the lease shall, upon application to the commissioner, have preference in the reletting of such ground for a like term to that granted in the original lease, excluding the rental fee, which shall not be less than the minimum fee per acre as provided in this subsection. A lease renewal shall not be granted if the applicant is in arrears for rent on the original lease of such grounds. Such application for such renewal or further lease shall be granted without notice or advertisement of the pendency thereof; provided no renewal or further lease of such ground shall be granted when the commissioner, for cause, ceases to lease such ground for shellfish culture. All assignments or transfers of leases shall be subject to the approval of the commissioner and shall be recorded in his records. Any person who interferes with, annoys or molests another in the enjoyment of any lease authorized by the provisions of this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 26-237. The provisions of sections 26-212, 26-215 and 26-232 shall not apply to any shellfish grounds leased pursuant to the provisions of this section.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the Commissioner of Agriculture, after consultation with the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, may designate not more than two suitable shellfish parcels for use by one or more nonprofit educational organizations for the purpose of developing an aquaculture site for an environmental education curriculum. No such parcel shall be designated to another person or entity or shared with another person or entity and any such parcel shall not be more than one-half acre in total area.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

26-194(a)

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

New section

ENV

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill requires the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) to adopt shellfish leasing regulations. This has no fiscal impact as the agency currently has expertise for this purpose.

The bill also allows DoAg to designate up to two suitable shellfish beds for use by certain nonprofit educational organizations. Currently, the Commissioner already designates shellfish areas to regional agricultural science and technology education centers at no cost. As this codifies current practice, there is no fiscal impact.

In FY 17, there was $670,230 collected from shellfish leases and franchises.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5359

AN ACT CONCERNING SHELLFISH LEASES AND DESIGNATED SHELLFISH PARCELS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM.

SUMMARY

This bill requires, instead of allows, the agriculture commissioner to adopt regulations concerning shellfish leases in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act. By law, the commissioner may lease state shellfish beds to the highest responsible bidder for up to a 10-year term, at a minimum of $4 per acre, and the attorney general must approve the lease form.

The bill also allows the agriculture commissioner, after consulting with the energy and environmental protection commissioner, to designate up to two suitable shellfish parcels for use by one or more nonprofit educational organizations. The organizations must use the parcels to develop an aquaculture site for an environmental education curriculum. A parcel cannot be (1) designated to or shared with another person or entity and (2) more than one-half acre in total area.

By law, the commissioner may designate shellfish areas to regional agricultural science and technology education centers for conducting educational activities. The areas cannot be (1) greater than 50 acres each of restricted relay grow-out beds and approved harvest beds and (2) in production when designated (CGS 26-194(e)).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

30

Nay

0

(03/22/2018)

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