The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has closed shellfishing in all waters south of Cape Cod due to a substantial bloom of a potentially toxic kind of phytoplankton termed Pseudo-Nitzschia. Includes Buzzards Bay and Fairhaven waters.
Digging, harvesting, collecting and/or attempting to dig, harvest or collect shellfish, and the possession of shellfish, is prohibited in all waters from the Rhode Island border east to Nantucket Sound, including all of Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds and waters surrounding the islands. This closure complements the state of Rhode Island’s shellfish harvest closures.
Pseudo-Nitzschia can produce domoic acid, a biotoxin that concentrates in filter feeding shellfish. Shellfish containing high concentrations of domoic acid can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) with symptoms that include vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and incapacitating headaches followed by confusion, disorientation, permanent loss of short-term memory, and in severe cases, seizures and coma.
None of the closures to date have affected the harvest of whelks, or the harvest of scallops for purposes of extracting and selling or consuming the adductor muscle. Shellfish closure notices can be found on the DMF website.
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