Potentially Toxic Phytoplankton Prompts Shellfish Ban on Southcoast Shoreline
Shellfishing of any kind has been banned throughout Buzzards Bay and other areas until further notice.
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries says a substantial bloom of potentially toxic phytoplankton was detected last week, with high concentrations detected throughout Buzzards Bay and Lackeys Bay. As a precaution, officials have also banned shellfishing in Mount Hope Bay.
As a result of the closure, digging for and harvesting shellfish is prohibited in Swansea, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Bourne, Falmouth, and Gosnold.
The Division of Marine Fisheries says this particular phytoplankton can produce a biotoxin that concentrates in filter feeding shellfish and can cause poisoning if ingested. Symptoms can include vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and incapacitating headaches that can be followed by confusion, permanent loss of short-term memory, and in severe cases, seizures and coma.