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3/22/2015 - Expanded Shellfish Industry Could Create Hundreds of Jobs, Millions of Dollars of Income in Bridgeport

"Making Bridgeport a green and sustainable city means jobs, it means adding dollars to our tax rolls, it means good food, it means clean water. Who could be opposed to that?" Mayor Bill Finch.

Bridgeport, Conn. (March 22, 2014) – An expanded shellfishing industry could bring hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in personal income to Bridgeport.

Currently, the shellfish industry supports about 300 jobs and generates $45 million statewide per year. Chuck Viens, who grows cultured oyster in the Pequannock River and Long Island Sound and is co-owner of Bridgeport Lobster and Shellfish, projected that Bridgeport alone has the potential to reach those numbers moving forward. 

"Making Bridgeport a green and sustainable city means jobs, it means tax revenue, it means good food, it means clean water. Who could be opposed to that?"  Mayor Bill Finch said Friday at the Knowlton Street business.

Viens estimated that every new 25-acre lot where cultured oysters are grown could generate $100,000 in revenue.

"Right here on Knowlton Street and in the Pequannock River is a shellfish industry that creates jobs and it cleans the Pequannock River so much that we've been seeing harbor seals in the Bridgeport Harbor," said Mayor Finch.

And, Viens said, for the first time he's seen river grass growing in the Pequannock. 

"The water is so clear you can see 20 to 30 feet down," said Mayor Finch.

Currently, the state legislature is considering legislation that could bolster the shellfish industry and create new jobs and opportunities in Bridgeport.

"There is so much potential for growth moving forward, and I support legislation that will create jobs and build on the foundation we have set. We’re making smart investments in Bridgeport's future that will result in thousands of new jobs and millions in revenue for our city," said Mayor Finch.

Investments like Steelpointe Harbor, which will offer 2.8 million square feet of shops, hotels, a public waterfront, and up to 2.6 million square feet of housing, all anchored by a flagship Bass Pro Shop. Once complete, Steelpointe Harbor will mean more than 3,000 jobs and $18.5 million in annual tax revenue.

And, the city continues to help small businesses to succeed and thrive.

"In Bridgeport, we’re on the verge of a major comeback. We are succeeding by attracting national businesses like Bass Pro and Starbucks and Sports Authority and also by supporting and advocating for our local businesses like Bridgeport Lobster and Shellfish."