GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

June 4, 2014

Red tide triggers shutdown of area shellfish beds

In the first widespread local closure since 2011, the state Division of Marine Fisheries today shut down all shellfish harvesting areas stretching from Newbury to Gloucester because of elevated levels of the marine biotoxin commonly known as red tide.

The closure, which includes the harvesting of all species of shellfish, is likely to last for a minimum of three weeks, according to Jeff Kennedy, regional shellfish supervisor at DMF’s Annisquam River Marine Fisheries Field Station.

“We will be monitoring weekly and we will need three descending counts in the levels (of the red tide) to re-open these areas,” Kennedy said this afternoon.

According to DMF, red tide is the name used to describe “a bloom in marine waters of single-cell microscopic algae which contain both red pigments and harmful neurotoxins.”

In the Northeast, the organism that causes the bloom is the Alexandrium fundyense phytoplankton that contain neurotoxins. The shellfish feed on the plankton and store the neurotoxins in their digestive tract and viscera, sometimes to dangerous and even lethal levels if they are eaten.

The neurotoxins can cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, whose symptoms include tingling and numbness of the lips, tongue and extremities; drowsiness; giddiness; unsteadiness, vomiting and diarrhea. In extreme cases, respiratory arrest and possibly death can result.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT and check out his blog, Glosta Daily, on gloucestertimes.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament