State discusses plan to preserve CT’s shellfish industry

Plan to preserve state's shellfish industry
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:51 PM EDT
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FAIRFIELD, CT (WFSB) - Oysters and clams farmed from Long Island Sound are a part of Connecticut’s rich history.

On Monday the state celebrated a new plan to protect, preserve and help restore its shellfish industry.

“When the water hits 70 degrees the oysters will start to spawn. They’ll release eggs and they like to settle on hard surfaces. They’ll settle on things like old oyster shells and these spat collectors,” said Tim Macklin.

Macklin and other volunteers with Fairfield’s Shellfish Commission work to protect the shellfish habitat in town like at Ash Creek, and now they’re getting help from the state and a little more guidance.

“Over the past number of years, we’ve brought together members of the industries, members of the shellfish commissions, leaders from the coastal towns, the scientists to say, what do we need to do to make sure this natural resource is available,” said Bryan Hurlburt, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.

State, federal, and local leaders, spent the afternoon celebrating Connecticut’s shellfish restoration plan, working together to make sure the 60,000 acres of Long Island Sound that’s harvested is managed and preserved.

With the new plan, the state hopes to have a road map, to make the next couple of hundred years as productive as the first few.

“Today’s event is as much about the heritage of CT’s access to LI Sound and our aquaculture industry, as it is our future of what we’re doing to ensure that we have a great future ahead of us,” said Hurlburt.

Part of the plan is also bringing back the CT Seafood Advisory Council to help promote the state’s seafood products.

“By recharging that council, it’s another way for us to say the shellfish industry is important industry in the state of CT. We want their input, we want them to participate, we want to have that connection with them and make sure they have market opportunities available,” Hurlburt said.

All while restoring the natural oyster beds, along the sound, and helping them thrive.

“We’re doing it here and hopefully they’ll use this information to have other small towns to kind of get involved and do the same thing, all the way up the coast of Connecticut,” said Macklin.