State regulators are expanding the closure of shellfishing areas in southern Maine, in an effort to ward off exposure to a potentially deadly neurotoxin.
The closure now stretches from Portland Harbor north and east to the New Meadows area. The ban affects hundreds of acres of productive clam flats, as well as mussel and oyster farms.
Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols says the precautionary closure is in response to phytoplankton bloom that can produce a toxin that in turn can cause what’s called amnesiac shellfish poisoning.
Nichols says the department is trying to stay ahead of the situation, and to avert the possibility of shellfish recalls.