Heavy Rains Force New England Shellfish Closures


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 29, 2008

Maine shellfish officials yesterday banned shellfish harvesting along the entire coastline due to concerns about bacterial runoff from recent heavy rains.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources enacted a total ban for clam, quahog, mussel and oyster harvesting from the New Hampshire line to Canada.

Additionally, Massachusetts officials closed shellfish harvesting in about 20 towns on Cape Cod and the islands in what is one of the state's largest closures in years.

"We have coastwide closures probably one to two times a year," Dave Whittaker, senior biologist with the state's Division of Marine Fisheries, told the Cape Cod Times. "This is the biggest one we've had in many, many years."

Shellfish areas were closed across southeastern parts of the state, but the North Shore was not as hard hit by the weekend's rains and subsequent closures. Rainfall amounts above 4 inches during a single storm trigger the closures because of the increased chance of fecal coliform entering the water.

Some areas of Cape Cod and the islands saw more than 6 inches of rain over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass.

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