NORWALK, Conn. -- Improving Long Island Sound's water quality can lead to more than just a cleaner environment — it can also mean job growth, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said during a tour last week of a longtime Norwalk oyster business.
Murphy visited Copps Island Oysters — which is owned by Norm Bloom and Son, a third-generation family-owned business.
"We've seen some troubling reports, the last report gave the Sound here in Norwalk a C+ grade," Murphy said about a report card released by Harbor Watch last year. "We can do better, and we have to do better — and ultimately that's going to help us grow jobs."
His Long Island Sound Investment Plan calls for the federal government to dedicate $860 million annually to pay for research and cleanup efforts in and around the Sound.
"I'm calling for about a 10 [percent] to 15 percent increase in federal funds to protect Long Island Sound. I know that number sounds big to people but we've got to start setting the targets high for the federal programs that help clean up the Sound and help restore the ability of fishermen, shell fishermen to be able to do their business here," he said before touring the business.
The business has a fleet of 15 boats, including one that dates to 1911. Bloom said that overall the Sound is healthy and the shellfish industry, which brings in $30 million to the state, is doing well. However, he said the Sound's health can't be taken for granted.
"The Sound's healthy (but) it needs continuous monitoring," he said. "I don't think it's anything that we can say we're good and just leave it alone. I think we have to continuously watch."
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