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Courtney bill to help Conn. shellfish growers

Noank (AP) — U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney is unveiling a bill that he says will help farmed shellfish growers in Connecticut and across the country.

The Democrat from eastern Connecticut has scheduled a press conference Thursday at the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative. Fellow U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts are co-sponsoring the legislation, which allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide direct and professional marketing assistance to growers.

Local shell fishermen from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Long Island are expected to attend Friday's event, as well as Connecticut's new agriculture commissioner and other seafood industry officials.

The bill is called the Shellfish Marketing Assistance Fairness Act.

The USDA had left farmed shellfish growers off a list of "special crops," making them ineligible for the federal marketing help.

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