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Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program provides clarity for direct-to-consumer sale regulation for fishing industry

Rhode Island’s commercial seafood industry was hit hard during the COVID-19 public health crisis when restaurants shut down, prices dropped, and in some cases, wholesalers stopped buying. To help alleviate COVID-19-related stresses on the fishing industry, Rhode Island Sea Grant’s Legal Program provided clarification on the permitting requirements and standards for direct-to-consumer sales of finfish in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program investigated the permitting requirements for direct-to-consumer sales of finfish in Rhode Island and compared them to other states to clarify whether and how legal systems could accommodate this activity without jeopardizing public health. This information was used by the state’s resource management and health departments to assist with the formulation of an emergency regulation change for direct-to-consumer sales, leading to the allowance of direct-to-consumer sales.

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