HALLOWELL — Although it is far too soon to say that the 2009 red tide season is over, or to calculate what it has cost the state’s shellfish industry, it appears that the blooms of toxic algae that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) may be retreating from the Maine coast.
Last week, the Department of Marine Resources eased restrictions on harvesting shellfish because of red tide in many areas of the state’s coastline. DMR maps of the areas that remain closed indicate that red tide is now absent from many bays and inlets that were formerly closed to digging. The biggest changes are in the area that stretches eastward from Penobscot Bay and includes portions of Blue Hill, Frenchman and Gouldsboro bays.
Wide areas of the coast still remain closed to shellfish harvesting because of the risk of red tide. The most current information about closures can be obtained by contacting a local Maine Marine Patrol officer or by calling the Division II headquarters in Lamoine at (207) 667-3373. Information is also available by calling the DMR Red Tide Hotline at (800) 232-4733 or going to the department’s Web site.
For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.