Bill to boost Massachusetts lobster processing moves ahead

A proposal that could clear the way for more lobster processing in Massachusetts has made it through the State Senate

BOSTON — A proposal that could clear the way for more lobster processing in Massachusetts has made it through the state Senate.

Republican Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester wants to reform Massachusetts processing laws so wholesale dealers can process unfrozen lobsters, import unfrozen shell-on lobster parts and allow for sale of processed lobster. Current laws require Massachusetts lobstermen and seafood dealers to sell or transport lobster out of the state for processing for parts.

The laws went into effect decades ago to stop harvesters from taking immature lobsters, mutilating them and then selling the parts to wholesalers.

Tarr, however, said that authorities have “developed enforcement methods to keep that from happening,” according to the Daily News in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Tarr said current law results in Massachusetts lobster going to Canada and Maine, where processing infrastructure is located.

Tarr’s bill passed the Senate on March 7. It must be reconciled with the House version of the legislation. The proposal will go to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker for a signature if a final version is approved by the House and Senate.

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