Congressman Stephen F. Lynch sent the following letter to Hector V. Barreto, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration to request support for Massachusetts fishermen affected by the red tide outbreak.

The Honorable Hector V. Barreto


U.S. Small Business Administration

409 Third Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20416


Dear Administrator Barreto:

As you may be aware, Massachusetts waters are being plagued by the worst outbreak of red tide since 1972. For this reason, I am writing you in support of the request of my House and Senate colleagues from Massachusetts to urge you to issue an economic injury disaster declaration for Essex, Plymouth, Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes and Nantucket counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on behalf of the thousands of fishermen and their families who have been affected by the closure of shellfish beds due to red tide.  This outbreak has resulted in the closure of most shellfish areas in Massachusetts, devastating approximately 1,700 shellfish fishermen. 

The start of the summer tourist season depends on for the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the entire New England region depends on the economic gains associated with this period.  The reverberations from the natural disaster will be felt by our fishermen provide shellfish as well as to the businesses on our coast that cater to tourists seeking local seafood during the summer months.  The levels of toxicity from this red tide outbreak have been escalating in recent weeks.  Local officials currently estimate that many shellfish beds will not be allowed to open for most of the summer months.  The fishermen and other small businesses affected by the red tide disaster are an important part of the economic and cultural history of Massachusetts’ coastal communities.  Emergency assistance for the shellfish industry is important for the continued growth of the Massachusetts economy.   

It is my hope that you will make the requested declaration immediately so our fishermen are eligible to apply for low-interest economic injury disaster loans from the SBA to help their businesses survive the red tide disaster.     

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.






Member of Congress