Lobster tail sales ban is lifted

A few years ago, Outback Steakhouse called Bill Adler, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, about a surf-and-turf problem.

In Massachusetts, the restaurant chain couldn’t just buy a box of frozen American lobster tails plucked from New England waters to later prepare and plate shell-on beside a filet. Instead, the restaurants were forced to feature spiny lobster tails sourced from the Gulf of Mexico or South African or Australian waters, leaving Outback with a question for Adler: What’s going on here in Massachusetts?

The answer, Adler said, was the law, which allowed for processing but not sales of American lobster tails within state lines.

That is, until Friday, when Gov. Deval Patrick signed a 2014 budget that includes an amendment allowing processed and frozen Homarus americanus — commonly known as “American” — lobster tails to be possessed and sold in Massachusetts for the first time.

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