State orders Milford oyster bed closed after incidents

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Housatonic River

MILFORD — Connecticut’s Department of Agriculture has ordered the state’s largest seed-oyster bed closed after several incidents of commercial fishermen violating harvesting regulations concerning contaminated shellfish.

The agency said Friday there have also been attempts to conceal illegal activity in and around the Housatonic River Natural Oyster Seed Bed.

The Departments of Agriculture and Energy and Environmental Protection increased spot checks after an oyster boat captain was arrested June 7, charged with illegally transplanting contaminated seed oysters into a bed of healthy, market-ready oysters.

The approximately 1,250-acre bed is downstream from three water-pollution control plants. About a dozen commercial firms harvest in the area. They are required to transfer oysters from the river to a “relay” bed in Long Island Sound for six months, allowing the oysters to be cleaned of pollutants.