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Kerry, Kennedy, Tierney and Delahunt Urge Dept of Commerce to Approve Massachusetts' Request for Disaster Declaration

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA


Declaration required to obtain federal assistance for those affected by Red Tide outbreak

Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, along with Congressmen John Tierney and William Delahunt today urged U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to approve Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's request for a major a "commercial fishery failure." Such a declaration is needed to obtain federal assistance.

Much of the state's coastline has been closed to shellfish harvesting due to a red tide bloom. Red Tide has the potential to make shellfish unsafe to eat.

"The shellfishing industry is part of our state's cultural heritage and it provides the financial backbone for many families. This latest outbreak of Red Tide could cause a lasting financial impact and we need to act quickly to get economic relief to families and communities as soon as possible. We cannot afford any bureaucratic red tape or delays," said Senator Kerry, who is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over the Department of Commerce. "This is a fight for the livelihood of Massachusetts shellfishermen that directly and deeply impacts one of our core industries - and we will fight for this assistance for families and communities who really need it."

"Senator Kennedy stands with Massachusetts hard-working fishermen, and he strongly urges the Department of Commerce to take this necessary action to protect this vital Massachusetts industry that supports so many families in the Commonwealth," said Melissa Wagoner, spokesperson for Senator Kennedy.

"I join with my Massachusetts colleagues in urging approval of the request to provide relief for our shellfishermen, their families, and the communities we represent, like Ipswich and Essex in my district. This year's Red Tide bloom has had a significant economic impact during already challenging times. This assistance must be approved and cannot come soon enough," said Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA).

"This recent outbreak of red tide could not have come at a worse time for our region's shellfishermen and their families. They are all struggling to make ends meet and this federal help is needed," Congressman Delahunt said.

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