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Governor signs law allowing for the direct dockside sale of fish

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Gov. Dan McKee has signed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown) and Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown) that allows for the direct dockside sale of fish.

The law permits the dockside sale of allowable species upon issuance of a direct sale dealer license by the Department of Environmental Management to a commercial fishing license holder. The legislation allows finfish to be processed but not filleted dockside from the vessel. Lobsters, crabs and whelk would be sold live.

“Commercial fisheries have taken a particular beating during the COVID pandemic,” said Senator Sosnowski. “Those in the seafood industry are just starting to get back on their feet now since the closure of restaurants and other businesses and supply chains.”

Last year, Senator Sosnowski worked closely with the DEM and members of the shellfishing industry to find alternatives to the supply chain and to ensure that the seafood industry is protected and served. The DEM issued provisions temporarily allowing fishermen to sell their catch dockside to consumers and retailers.

“Commercial fisheries are an important part of the coastal economy of Rhode Island,” said Representative Fogarty. “This bill is a lifeline to that industry while preserving safety and public health by ensuring that all seafood be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner pursuant to department regulations.”