A bill that could expand the amount of lobster processing done in New Bedford and elsewhere in Massachusetts has been approved by the State Senate.

The measure was initially filed by Senator Bruce Tarr and is supported by State Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford.

The bill eliminates some long-time restrictions on the processing and sale of lobster. A similar bill enacted in Maine boosted the state economy and captured jobs that otherwise would have gone to Canada.

Senator Montigny says after looking at the existing law, it was clear it needed reworking.

"Here's an example of an old regulation where because Massachusetts and some other states hadn't updated it, the processing business was going to Canada," said the Senator.

If the bill becomes law, it could hold almost immediate benefits for New Bedford.

Seatrade International has recently purchased the Mar-Lees Seafood building on the waterfront, and hopes to process lobster there and create at least 50 new jobs.

The bill now goes to the House.

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