Red Tide and Clams in Massachusetts
Posted 26 July 2008 - 11:29 AM
But, I had read recently that due to red tide, various clam and mussel beds have been closed throughout Mass...perhaps even farther up the coast.
A couple of questions - what's the current status of the shellfish beds?
Is there any worry about illegal harvesting during red tide?
When there are no local clams to harvest, where do the clams come from? Are they any good?
Finally, does red tide affect lobster or crabs?
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Posted 28 July 2008 - 02:13 PM
This link will take you to red tide open/closure updates for Mass.
When red tide closes part of a New England coast, other areas make up for local closures. Maine gets clams from Mass or downeast, or Canada and vice versa. Be absolutely sure that clams you eat during your holiday are safe. Exceptions? Doubtful - not these days anyway.
I heard today that closures in Maine occur when red tide bacteria exceed 80ppm but it's around 500ppm that people with compromised immune systems begin receiving enough bacteria to store in their muscle tissue and 1000ppm when it begins to be toxic for everybody. Then it takes repeated ingestion to provoke a seizure of involuntary muscle systems that means big trouble. The assessment of all involved (State Fisheries and harvesters) is that the State is being extremely cautious - more than probably necessary.
When big storms dump 2 inches of rain and river flooding occurs, the State closes down harvesting for a few tide cycles so that the run-off dissipates. This so shellfish can filter in (and that's a small maybe anyway) and out, any nasty bits people are spraying on their lawns or street detritus.
Lobster, crab and periwinkles are not affected. Oysters, clams and mussels are affected.
ppm = parts per million
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