Finding a cause of death for hundreds of surf clams that washed up on Old Orchard Beach last week isn't a major priority.
That's according to a spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources. Jeff Nichols says commercial harvesting is already prohibited in the area, so no one is likely to eat and be sickened by the clams.
"It is a closed area for harvesting so the bureau is not focusing its resources on that at this point," he says.
There had been concern that the clams were killed by the same algae that recently showed up in Casco Bay and can take the oxygen out of water and kill shellfish and other marine animals.
But Nichols says that algae isn't present in any concentration that would warrant action.
DMR also says it's not unusual for surf clams to pile up on the beach, especially when there's a high-wave situation such as a hurricane nearby.