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Rhode Island could give harbor seals an honorary title

Rhode Island has made calamari its official appetizer and the burying beetle its official insect.

Now a lawmaker is setting his sights on harbor seals.

More than 500 harbor seals that spend their winters around Narragansett Bay could get a new distinction: official state marine mammals.

Democratic State Rep. Samuel Azzinaro, from the beachfront town of Westerly, says he's never seen one except on TV but he knows that many people enjoy watching the seals.

Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce Director Lisa Konicki came up with the idea to promote tourism.

Marine veterinarian Allison Tuttle, who runs the animal rescue program at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, says the title could also help the protected species by raising awareness and educating people about the animals.