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September 15, 2017

Toxic algae closes shellfish harvesting in Downeast flats

Maine's Department of Marine Resources has closed parts of the Downeast coast to shellfishing due to blooms of a phytoplankton that can carry domoic acid, which is toxic to humans.

The Portland Press Herald reported domoic acid was found in shellfish tested between Mount Desert Island and Gouldsboro. That area was closed to harvesting and the DMR enacted a precautionary closure from Deer Isle to Machiasport, almost a third of Maine's coastline.

Department spokesman Jeff Nichols told the paper that officials were monitoring the situation closely and "will be able to rapidly detect harmful levels of domoic acid and take action to protect the health of Maine's shellfish consumers."

"This is just one of those things that happens when you are working with nature," Fiona de Koning, co-owner of Hollander and de Koning mussels, which has five aquaculture leases around Mount Desert Island and Deer Isle, told the newspaper.

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