CT shellfish industry, going strong, hopes for EU breakthrough

Monday, April 16, 2018

Connecticut’s shellfish business has been experiencing a solid turnaround over the past few years — and a March 8 Food & Drug Administration announcement is raising hopes even higher.

“It would be a great opportunity for us to diversify into new markets,” said Jeff Northrop, founder of Hummock Island, a venture-backed oyster farm startup in Westport. “It could drive up the value of the company and of the brand overall.”

“It” is the FDA’s announcement that it was beginning the process of restoring shellfish trade between the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.). To do this, the FDA would make a determination that E.U. shellfish is as safe as U.S. shellfish. The E.U., in turn, would make an administrative decision that U.S. shellfish is the equivalent theirs. The FDA is soliciting public comment on the decision through May 23; if finalized, it would permit the export of shellfish harvested from approved growing areas in Massachusetts and Washington state initially, although other states — including Connecticut — could be added over time.

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