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Portion of Down East coast reopened to shellfish harvesting

BANGOR, Maine — A portion of the Down East coast has been reopened to shellfish harvesting after levels of a toxin that can causes amnesic shellfish poisoning were determined to have declined.

Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said some of the tidal areas between between Calais and Cutler, and part of the shoreline between Isle Au Haut to Winter Harbor are now open for harvesting clams, mussels and carnivorous snails.

Nichols said the department’s scientists still are trying to determine why the toxin levels vary along the state’s shoreline. “You know, it’s all the first time we’ve experienced it this year, so we’re looking into that and we don’t have anything specific that we can point to that tells us why the toxin that has been detected at lower levels in Maine waters for decades has suddenly gone up.”

Maine’s softshell clam industry was valued last year at more than $22 million.

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