RI-Style Calamari is Offical State Appetizer

Saturday, June 28, 2014


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Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation recognizing Rhode Island Calamari (squid rings tossed with hot cherry peppers) as the state’s official appetizer.

“Promotion of our multi-million dollar squid industry will help our fishing, hospitality and tourism interests in Rhode Island, all of which serve as integral parts of our economy.  ‘Rhode Island-style calamari’ is on menus in many other states and allows us to draw attention to one of our unique assets,” House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said. “The calamari bill may not rise to the degree of importance that some of our other economic initiatives have, such as lowering our corporate tax and enacting regulatory reform, but it is possible to market our assets and address pressing issues at the same time.”

Chafee believes the legislation will bring more tourists to docks and seafood eateries.

There are about 125 vessels dedicated to squid fishing in Rhode Island, and those vessels raised $18.6 million in 2012 by landing 23.5 million pounds of squid.

The Governor signed the legislation at the Town Dock in Narragansett, where he was joined by Speaker Mattiello, Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski, Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, Narragansett Town Council President James Callaghan and Janet Coit, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Sponsors Speak

“So much of what we hear or read about Rhode Island is negative,” said Representative McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), who introduced the House bill proposing the new state appetizer (2014-H 7446A). “We need to start promoting the good and wonderful things about our state. And, while squid may make some people squeamish, we should be boasting about the fact that Rhode Island is the East Coast capital of squid, and that our style of preparing it is being used by chefs across the country.”

“It is the juxtaposition of two things – that squid is the state’s most valuable commercial fishery and that a cuisine distinctive to Rhode Island is served and enjoyed around the country – that make this special to our state, something to call our own,” said Senator Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), sponsor of the Senate bill (2014-S 2398A).


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