Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5359

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING SHELLFISH LEASES.

Vote Date:

3/22/2018

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/9/2018

File No.:

Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To align new shellfish leases in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Act and for approval by the General Assembly.

Substitute Language:

Amendment Letter A: Includes a section after section 1 to allow the Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to designate no more than two suitable shellfish parcels, not more than, one-half acre in total area, for the use of educational organizations for the purpose of developing an aquaculture site for an environmental education curriculum.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Steven K. Reviczky, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg)

The Shellfish Leasing Program is currently outlined in C.G.S 26-194. The parameters of C.G.S 26-194 require the agency to award a shellfish lease to the highest responsible bidder. This is the primary factor currently limiting the expansion of the state's existing leasing program. This language results in the majority of new leases to be awarded to larger established shellfish producers; which would impede growth among start-up and smaller shellfish producers.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Ben Goetsch, Briarpatch Enterprises

The Environment Committee cannot allow the Department of Agriculture to create new language in shellfish leases without following the proper regulatory framework and approval by the legislature. Changes to the current lease format should be discussed with the shellfishing industry and adopted according to Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statues.

Any changes to the lease format should be properly vetted with industry and adopted according to the provisions of Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statutes.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

David Brentsilver

Wildlife should be left alone and not hunted needlessly for food.

Reported by: Steve Smith, Asst. Clerk

Date: 3/23/2018