After a ferocious winter storm battered the coast of Maine and the state’s Department of Marine Resources is working with the Maine Emergency Management Agency to assess the damage to the working waterfront.
DMR commissioner Pat Keliher announced this morning, January 11, that the department would be conducting aerial surveys of the coast to document the damage. In addition, he encouraged all coastal residents and fishermen to report damage.
“It is imperative that individuals with damaged property from yesterday's storm, including wharfs, floats, vessels, etc. document that damage, share that information with their local municipality, and ask their municipality to report documented damage to the appropriate Maine county emergency management agency,” says Keliher in mass email sent to the fishing community and those associated with it.
From southern Maine to the Canadian border, wharves and infrastructure have been damaged and destroyed heavy surf and storm surge, with flooding exacerbated by melting snow. Facebook pages and news reports are full of horrific photos and videos of the destruction – lobster shacks afloat, wharves lifted off their pilings, boats adrift, and more.
“The storm that started on Jan. 9 and led into Jan. 10 devastated Maine's fishing community” says Monique Coombs of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. “Wharves that have been in families for generations were picked up and unceremoniously carried away by massive waves and a very high tide. Many fishermen lost traps and gear that were being stored in the off-season, and it is our understanding that many municipalities are having a difficult time keeping up with the amount of damage that is being reported.”
In his Jan.11 email, Keliher warns of another storm forecast: “Also, please note that we have a similar storm coming this weekend with an even higher tide, so it’s clear that additional preparations will be needed.”