SENATORS SUPPORT HEALTHY TIDAL WATERS AND SHELLFISH PROTECTION PROGRAMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Senator Maggie Hassan
(603) 271 – 8631

Contact: Senator Martha Fuller Clark

(603) 271 – 8631

May 3, 2006

Concord , NH – The New Hampshire State Senate today passed House Bill 1747, an act establishing a New Hampshire healthy tidal waters and shellfish protection program. The purpose of House Bill 1747is to continue an effective New Hampshire Shellfish Program and in addition, this legislation helps keep waters clean and fresh and will significantly impact the tourism industry.

House Bill 1747, as described by the Department of Environmental Services (DES), will establish the healthy tidal waters and shellfish protection fund and make fiscal appropriations for it. The shellfish program provides that New Hampshire abides by procedures set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. New Hampshire tidal waters are then regulated and opened for shellfish harvesting at appropriate times during the year. Currently, nearly all New Hampshire waters are classified, with45% of estuarine waters and 83% of all tidal waters open for harvesting, which would now be under the regulation of the national program.

Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D- Portsmouth) said, “We need to protect our tidal waters, as they are a valuable economic resource for New Hampshire. By regulating shellfish harvesting, we are looking into the future and ensuring that we are being responsible about what comes out of our waters. New Hampshire has a rather large shellfish harvesting industry and it’s decline would adversely affect our economy. I congratulate the Senate and the House for recognizing the importance of this program and providing the necessary dollars to fund it.”

Senator Maggie Hassan (D- Exeter) concluded, “Keeping our waters clean not only helps the shellfish industry, but our very important tourism industry as well. Tourists are not going to want to come to New Hampshire and spend time in our tidal waters if they are polluted. We need to preserve our valuable environment, and House Bill 1474 ensures not only the environment is protected, but our important shellfish industry as well.”

Upon passage of House Bill 1474, it shall take effect July 1, 2006.