Red tide losses for the industry are estimated at $3 million a week
BOSTON – An outbreak of toxic red tide algae that has suspended most
shellfishing from Maine to Massachusetts also forced state officials
to close federal waters, extending the affected area by thousands of
On June 10, the state Division of Marine Fisheries ordered
Massachusetts crews to stop using federal shellfishing areas and
asked federal officials to extend that ban to out-of-state
The move extends the ban for state shellfishing crews from three
miles from shore to 100 miles from shore.
Toxins produced by the algae contaminate shellfish such as clams and
mussels, making them unsafe for people and animals to eat.
But it is not a risk to people who eat lobster, scallops and finned
The red tide extends from the Schoodic Peninsula in Maine to
Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay.
It is the worst red tide along the New England coast since 1972.
Maine and Massachusetts have declared states of emergency, seeking
federal disaster relief for the industry.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the red tide is costing the
shellfish industry about $3 million per week. The algae that causes
red tide has yearly growth surges.
This year, strong easterly and northeasterly winds have blown in a
particularly heavy algae population.