Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senator Maker Withdraws Financial Assistance Bill to Aid Mainers Impacted by Shellfish Closures
Federal financial assistance is already available under current law
AUGUSTA – Sen. Joyce Maker (R-Washington) has announced that she has withdrawn a bill she submitted earlier this session titled “An Act to Provide Relief to Those Impacted by Shellfish Closures,” because additional legislation isn’t required to provide assistance to those impacted by fishing closures.
“Last year, Maine’s coastline experienced a specific type of toxin that is new to Maine, resulting in a two-week shell fishing closure. While these closures undoubtedly have a real impact on our fishing industry, closures of this length aren’t out of the ordinary and don’t meet the guidelines to be considered a disaster,” said Sen. Maker. “After further investigation, I’ve discovered that had the situation continued, the Department of Marine Resources would have had the ability to petition the federal government to provide financial assistance to those impacted by the closure.
“Also, I have concerns that the bill would favor some fisheries over others and set a precedent that the government will step in whenever times gets lean. But that’s the name of the game, as fishing is inherently unpredictable. For these reasons, I’ve decided that legislation isn’t necessary and have pulled the bill from consideration.”
Under current law, after 30 days of shellfish closures, the commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources has the ability to request fisheries disaster relief from the federal government to provide financial relief, as it has done in the past.
In 2005, Congress approved $2 million for shellfish disaster relief to Maine for fiscal year 2006, and again federal monies were provided in 2008/2009. Similarly, in the last several years, Maine has received ground fish disaster relief through the federal process.