The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has closed the state’s ocean coastline and Hampton Seabrook Harbor to shellfish harvesting. The agency came to this decision after finding high levels of a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in mussel samples taken yesterday. The toxin comes from what’s known as red tide.
Chris Nash is the Shellfish Program Manager at the department and he says the toxin is produced by algae.
“Filter feeding shellfish like clams, oysters and mussels will start to accumulate this toxin in their bodies and if there's enough of it in their bodies and a human eats it and that human can be sick or in some cases it can be fatal.”
The waters will be closed for the rest of May, which will affect soft shell clamming season. However, some oyster harvesting areas remain open in Great Bay and Little Bay.
Officials say it’s too early to know when the waters will be safe enough to reopen.