For Immediate Release - July 23, 2013

Possession and Sale of Frozen Shell-On Lobster Tails Now Authorized in Massachusetts

As part of the 2014 fiscal year budget, the Massachusetts Legislature amended M.G.L. c. 130 § 44 to authorize the possession and sale of frozen shell-on lobster tails weighing at least 3 ounces, and this action became law when the budget was signed by Governor Deval Patrick on July 12, 2013.  All wholesale and retail seafood dealers and food establishments are now authorized to sell frozen shell-on lobster tails in Massachusetts and consumers may possess this food product for personal use.

In response to the above change in state law, the Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) will not seek to enforce its existing, conflicting regulations at 322 CMR 6.32 and is in the process of amending these regulations to conform them to state law.    

Please be advised that as already provided under M.G.L. c. 130 § 44, fishermen are prohibited from possessing any lobster parts at-sea or upon landing and only authorized dealers may detach tails from the body of a lobster.  Any Massachusetts wholesale seafood dealer that seeks to process whole lobsters into frozen shell-on lobster tails must obtain authorization from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and MarineFisheries.  Finally, any processed shell-on lobster tails imported into the Commonwealth are subject to existing federal and state food labeling requirements.    

MarineFisheries will make available more information about the upcoming public hearing on its proposed amendments to 322 CMR 6.32 to conform them to state law.  For more information on the change to M.G.L. c. 130 § 44 or the status of MarineFisheries’ amendments to 322 CMR 6.32, please contact Jared Silva by e-mail (jared.silva@state.ma.us) or by phone (617-626-1534).

www.mass.gov/marinefisheries