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New England Red Tide Heats Up in Coastal Maine

Tumultuous weather and significant northeast winds along the coast of Maine have brought toxic Alexandrium cells (also called New England Red Tide) inshore, completely shutting down the Maine mahogany clam (ocean quahog) beds and resulting in harvesting closures for all shellfish species throughout most of eastern Maine due to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins.

This sequence of events is consistent with the seasonal forecast issued earlier this year which predicted a moderately severe Alexandrium bloom with landfall and the affect on coastal resources largely dependent on wind patterns in May, June, and July.

Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and North Carolina State University issued the 2009 seasonal forecast in April, based on runs of a biological-physical model, developed with ECOHAB and MERHAB support, using weather scenarios typical of the last few years.

For more on the 2009 Alexandrium/PSP event, visit


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