PORTLAND, Maine — U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has determined that the 2009 red tide outbreak in Maine resulted in a commercial fishery failure.
Wednesday’s disaster declaration makes Maine shellfish harvesters eligible for disaster aid, but the incoming Congress will have to approve funding assistance.
Much of the Maine coast was shut down to shellfish harvesting between April and September 2009 because of outbreaks of toxic algae blooms, forcing hundreds of clam diggers to put down their rakes.
Gov. John Baldacci in October 2009 asked that a fisheries disaster be declared for the state’s shellfish industry to help with losses from clam flat closures.