Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that the Obama Administration has agreed to a disaster declaration for the 2009 shellfish season in Maine, clearing the way for shellfish harvester to receive disaster assistance.
"Harvesters and coastal communities lost millions of dollars due to closures and, with the economic downturn, it came at a terrible time. Aid would certainly help many harvesters from having to make the tough choice between heating their homes or putting food on the table this winter," Pingree said.
Pingree wrote to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke last month, urging him to support the disaster declaration.
"Maine's coastal communities lost millions of dollars in 2009 due to shellfish closures," Pingree wrote to Locke. "The few thousand dollars Maine shellfish harvesters received in 2005 due to red tide made a significant difference (for them.)"
Pingree also argued to Locke that less severe red tides resulted in disaster declarations in 2005 and 2008.
This declaration makes Maine shellfish harvesters eligible for disaster aid, but the incoming Congress will have to approve for a disaster fund.