The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that effective at sunrise on Friday, March 24, it will lift the emergency shellfishing closure for areas of Rhode Island Sound, lower Narragansett Bay south of the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges, and lower Sakonnet River.

DEM had announced on March 1st that areas of Rhode Island Sound, lower Narragansett Bay south of the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges, and lower Sakonnet River were bclosed to shellfish harvesting beginning at sunrise on Wednesday, March 1, until further notice due to a harmful algae bloom that has now subsided.

Out of an abundance of caution, DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) analyzed shellfish and water samples from both closed and open waters for the presence of domoic acid – a toxin responsible for amnesic shellfish poisoning in humans – throughout the closure period. Recent test results for shellfish show little to no evidence of this toxin. All shellfish on the market is safe from domoic acid. DEM will continue to monitor local waters as part of its regular survey program.

For updates on shellfish closure areas, contact the DEM 24-hour shellfishing hotline at 401-222-2900 and/or sign up for the DEM Marine Fisheries email list at rimarinefisheries-subscribe@listserve.ri.gov. Visit www.dem.ri.gov/shellfish for more information.

For more information on DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.