The Maine Department of Marine Resources has given the all-clear for Down East shellfish harvesters, more than a month after closing the region to harvesting because of an unusual bloom of toxic algae.

On Monday, the DMR announced it was reopening harvesting areas between Penobscot Bay and Machiasport for shellfish, including softshell clams and mussels. Areas farther east, between Machiasport and Calais, were reopened to harvesting Oct. 25.

The entire Down East coast from east Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border was closed at the end of September. The closure was triggered after shellfish samples from Jonesport, Corea and Roque Bluffs tested positive for elevated levels of domoic acid, a biotoxin that can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning and lead to illness, brain damage and possibly death. About 5 tons of softshell clams, mussels and quahogs harvested in the affected area were recalled in late September and destroyed. The products had been distributed as far as Missouri and Utah.

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