PA 10-78—HB 5131

Environment Committee

Education Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING VOCATIONAL AGRICULTURE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AQUACULTURE CENTER SHELLFISH BEDS

SUMMARY: This act allows the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) commissioner to designate shellfish areas that are necessary for conducting educational activities to regional agricultural science and technology education centers (RASTECs). The shellfish areas are those (1) owned by the state, (2) placed under state jurisdiction by the town of West Haven, or (3) within the state's exclusive jurisdiction but undesignated. The designated areas must (1) be no greater than 50 acres each of restricted relay grow-out beds and approved harvest beds and (2) not be in production at time of designation.

The educational activities that may be conducted include grow-out activities related to commercial scale aquaculture in the state's waters.

Existing law allows the DoAg commissioner to lease the beds for shellfish planting and cultivating to the highest responsible bidder, at a minimum of $4 per acre, for 10-year terms. The act appears to exempt RASTECs from the acreage fee and 10-year term.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

BACKGROUND

RASTEC

The law allows local school boards to make agreements to establish a RASTEC for their students in conjunction with their regular public school system.  Local school boards that do not offer agricultural science and technology training must designate a school that their students interested in such training may attend (CGS 10-65).

Restricted Relay Classifications

By law, DoAg may prohibit the taking or harvesting of shellfish from designated areas in tidal flats, shores, and coastal waters whenever it finds (1) that those areas are contaminated or polluted to the extent that the waters do not meet standards of purity it established, in conjunction with the Department of Public Health, or (2) that shellfish obtained from such areas may be unfit for food or dangerous to the public health.

DoAg must classify the coastal waters, shores, and tidal flats for shellfish taking. The classifications are: approved, conditional (conditional-open and -closed), restricted, conditionally restricted, and prohibited. Any person aggrieved by a classification decision may appeal as the law provides.

An area may be classified as prohibited for taking or harvesting shellfish if it fails to conform to the standards established by the department for classifications other than prohibited. The department may specify the activities that may occur within each classified area. The activities must be listed on a shellfish license the department issues (CGS 26-192e).

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