DEM lifts emergency shellfishing ban in most areas

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – An emergency ban on shellfishing in Rhode Island waters is over, according to the Department of Environmental Management.

The DEM closed shellfish beds in Narragansett Bay on October 7 because of a harmful algae bloom that could have contaminated shellfish with toxins that are harmful to humans.

During the closure, health officials tested shellfish for domoic acid, which causes amnesiac shellfish poisoning in humans. The DEM reported Saturday that two water samples had tested positive, but no shellfish samples did.

Given the negative results and the decline of the algae bloom, state officials lifted the shellfishing ban earlier than they had anticipated – noon on Saturday.

Areas conditionally-approved for shellfishing will remain closed until Monday.

The DEM has a 24-hour shellfishing hotline that provides information on shellfishing closures; call 401-222-2900 for updates.