Representative Joyce Maker Submits Financial Assistance Bill to Aid Mainers Impacted by Shellfish Closures

CALAIS – Representative Joyce Maker (R-Calais) today submitted a bill to provide financial relief to those affected by the recent shellfish closures along downeast Maine.

Inner Cobscook Bay, west of Lincoln Cove, Gove Point and the area west of Little Machias Bay remain closed to mussel and clam harvesting due to the bloom of pseudo-nitzchia and potential risk of Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. The Department of Marine Resources has reopened a portion of the coast from Calais to Cutler due to a drop in domoic acid levels.

 “While it is encouraging to see some of the coast reopened to harvesting, this continued closure of the impacted areas is having a devastating economic impact on the region,” Maker said. “People’s livelihoods are in jeopardy and I believe we in state government should do whatever we can for them.”

 The title of the bill is “An Act to Provide Relief to Those Impacted by Shellfish Closures.” It will be considered by the 128th Legislature which convenes in January, 2017.

 The U.S. Congress has, in the past, provided financial relief to harvesters to help mitigate the losses from red tide, but there is currently no provision in Maine state law to do so. Representative Maker’s bill would create such a funding mechanism.

 “This industry is so important to Maine. I believe with a bipartisan approach we can get these harvesters the help they need.”