Changes in lobster processing rules on Mass. Legislature’s plate

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are moving toward consensus on an overhaul of Massachusetts’ lobster processing laws.

The plan was recently endorsed by the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, which concluded it would deliver “economic benefits throughout the state’s seafood supply chain” and give consumers more choice of lobster products to purchase.

The legislation would change state rules to allow for processing and sale of raw and frozen lobster parts that are still in the shell — claws and tails, for example — and permit shell-on lobster parts to be imported for further processing.

A bill championed by Senate Republican leader Bruce Tarr, of Gloucester, has cleared the Senate. Democratic backers recently attached similar language to a House budget bill.

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Tarr says current laws result in 80 percent of the state’s lobster catch being shipped to Maine or Canada for processing.

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