As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a financial impact on Rhode Island small businesses, Representative Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) is calling upon the Department of Environmental Management to allow the state’s shellfishers to sell their product directly to the consumer.
“Giving these shellfishermen permission to do this would be a service to the community,” said Representative McNamara in a statement. “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.”
Representative McNamara, in a letter to DEM Director Janet Coit, wrote, “Lobstermen have been granted permission to sell their products at retail. 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.”