ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Shellfish areas open



AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources has reopened a wide swath of state waters recently closed to shellfish harvesting because of the risk of amnesiac shellfish poisoning (ASP).

As of Oct. 21, the DMR had reopened a portion of the Maine coast from Calais to Cutler for the harvest of clams, mussels and carnivorous snails. Some of inner Cobscook Bay and the waters west of Little Machias Bay between Cape Wash and Point of Maine, including all of Machias Bay, remain closed to the harvesting of mussels and clams.

To the westward, the waters between Point of Maine and Schoodic point were still closed to harvesting clams, mussels, carnivorous snails and surf clams. The upper eastern portion of Frenchman Bay was similarly closed. Large areas were reopened to shellfish harvesting west of Schoodic Point. Maps can be found on the DMR website.

According to Kohl Kanwit, director of the DMR Bureau of Public Health, another round of shellfish sampling was set to begin Sunday, focusing first on the open areas in Frenchman Bay and Blue Hill Bay, to determine whether the biotoxin responsible for ASP has remained at safe levels. The DMR is working with other shellfish authorities in Canada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York to assess the occurrence of the intense algal bloom throughout the northeast that has also led to precautionary ASP closures in other states.

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