Red tide closes most of the Massachusetts coast for shellfish fishing

A toxic red tide has led to a ban on shellfish fishing along most of the Massachusetts coast, causing further disruption to the state’s seafood market following multiple rain-fed shutdowns , according to state officials.

Harvesting of all bivalve shellfish, including clams, oysters, mussels and scallops, and carnivorous snails has been banned Friday until further notice, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said in a statement.

According to the release, high levels of paralyzing shellfish poison, also known as red tide, have made it dangerous to catch, sell, possess or eat shellfish.

More than two dozen seaside towns from the New Hampshire border to Plymouth have been affected.

Red tide, which is a harmful algal bloom, produces chemicals in the water that can sicken or kill marine life, Gloucester Shellfish Warden Peter Seminara said in a telephone interview. When the algae is ingested by shellfish, it concentrates a toxin in them, Seminara said.

The ban on shellfish fishing will negatively affect the seafood market, he said, as it follows at least three consecutive rain closures since the beginning of July, he said. declared.

Prices are already quite high and the market is starting to experience shortages, Seminara said. Commercial clams could be out of work for up to 12 weeks, he said.

‘We will test again on Monday but are probably looking at at least a two week shutdown in Gloucester,’ he said. “We just want to remind people visiting the beaches not to take any shells as there is a risk of serious illness.”


Sofia Saric can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sofia_saric.

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