Massachusetts lobstermen are teeing up legislation to expand their lobster sales.

A measure endorsed by the Massachusetts Senate would allow the state to process, sell and transport cooked and frozen in-shell lobster parts. Laws currently prohibit those activities, which lobstermen say impede their ability to make a living.

A news release issued by state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who sponsored the bill, cites the success Maine has had adopting a similar law.

“(It) has boosted Maine’s economy, produced local outlets for product sales, and created jobs in the state,” said Tarr in the release.

The bill, supported by the Massachusetts lobster industry, is expected to cause an expansion of lobster processed in state and a reduction in the amount of lobster sent to Canada for processing. Roughly 900 lobstermen hold licenses in Massachusetts.

“The net effect of modernizing the law will bolster local economic activity for lobstermen, processors and local restaurants and food stores,” said Tarr.

The bill must pass the Massachusetts House and be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

While the sale of live, cooked and canned lobster is legal in the state, the legislation expands the lobster market. The Senate bill allows licensed wholesale dealers to process unfrozen lobsters, authorizes the importation of unfrozen shell-on lobster parts and tails, and it allows for the retail of previously frozen raw in-shell tails, according to the release.

In 2014, Massachusetts lobstermen landed 15.3 million pounds of lobster, valued at $68.3 million. Maine, which has more than 80 percent of the domestic lobster market, landed 124.3 million pounds that year at a value of $459.6 million.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.