MILFORD- The Coalition of Connecticut Shellfishers today (Wednesday, August 8) announced that State Rep. Pam Staneski of Milford has been named the 2018 State Legislator of the Year by CCS.
State Rep. Staneski was presented with the award at a reception at Briarpatch Shellfish dock on Edgewater Place in Milford.
Among the top issues legislators grappled with were continuing the conversation with legislators on an alternative shellfish testing facility at UCONN’s Avery Point in Groton, the implementation of GPS tracking devices on shellfish boats and their related costs, and continuing the dialogue with state Department of Agriculture officials on making the leasing process of shellfish beds more open and inclusive.
The Coalition named Representative Pam Staneski (R- 119th district) Legislator of the Year for her commitment to Connecticut’s shellfishing industry and the work she performed in helping protect Connecticut’s fragile coastal shellfish beds and spawning grounds which date back to colonial times and are among the nation’s oldest.
“It is a privilege to be recognized by the Coalition of Connecticut Shellfishers as their 2018 Legislator of the Year. Connecticut, and in particular Milford’s shellfishing industry is vital to our shoreline businesses and the region,” said Rep. Staneski (Milford and Orange). “I have sat down and listened to these outstanding members of the business community who want to be partners in planning, growing, and yes, regulating this essential Connecticut industry. All they want from the state are common sense laws that protect their right to earn a living. I am honored to work alongside of them in these efforts. ”
Host Joseph Gilbert, of Briarpatch Enterprises and Empire Fisheries in Milford, said, “Today’s recipients – one Democrat and one Republican – demonstrate that the importance to Connecticut of its historic shellfishing industry crosses party lines when comes to protecting jobs, a way of life and preserving a significant contributor to our state’s economy. We are grateful for their steadfast, common sense support and involvement.”
This year, Rep. Staneski introduced a bill this session which passed the General Assembly that will allow for additional state certified testing to handle the growing industry and ensure that samples from shellfish beds along the state coast are properly screened before sale.
Rep. Staneski has met with numerous shellfish company owners including Briarpatch Enterprises to determine how to cut the various costs in time and accessibility of tissue and water sampling.
James Amann, principal of International Government Strategies, and Speaker Emeritus of the Connecticut General Assembly, whose lobbying firm represents Connecticut’s shellfishing industry, moderated the evening’s event and joined Gilbert in presenting the awards.
Amann said, “As a son of coastal Connecticut who calls Milford home, I understand the importance of our shellfishing industry to Connecticut’s economy. It is an honor for me, particularly as a former legislator, to recognize these two state representatives, who work hard year in and year out to preserve our historic industry, protect jobs and keep our shellfish industry profitable – not to mention, producing the finest shellfish offerings available anywhere.”
Over the years, the state has invested $5.3 million in bonding for shellfish seeding which has grown to 7,000 acres of shellfish farms along coastal waters. Private companies have also invested heavily in bedding and preservation of these environmentally sensitive areas.