NCCOS and Weather Service Facilitate HAB Warnings in Gulf of Maine
For the first time, NOAA weather radio transmitters broadcast warnings about high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins in shellfish in the offshore and coastal waters of Hancock and Washington (Maine) counties in order to discourage recreational harvesting.
The toxins accumulate in shellfish that consume the toxic dinoflagellate, Alexandrium fundyense; humans can become severely ill or die if they eat contaminated shellfish. Between June 30 and July 8, NCCOS-funded scientists mapped two patches of A. fundyense in the Gulf of Maine and Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) found extremely high shellfish toxicity in shellfish from offshore islands.
Concerned that residents and visitors in some remote areas might not hear or see warnings, NCCOS, the National Weather Service, and DMR worked together to produce warnings in order to protect public health.