Harmful algae forces shellfish ban in parts of New England

Posted at 2:19 PM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 14:19:50-04

 PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Algae blooms are forcing the closure of shellfish beds around New England, including most of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and much of the coast of Maine.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says it's the first time harmful algae has prompted a shellfishing closure in the state.

Shellfishing was barred Friday morning for most of the bay and many of its tributaries.

In Maine, shellfishing is closed on the coastline between Deer Isle and the Canadian border.

The Portland Press Herald reports high levels of the toxin domoic acid have been detected in shellfish in Maine, leading to a recall of about five tons of mussels and clams.

Rhode Island officials are monitoring for the same toxin, which can cause serious health problems.

There have been no reports of illness.