ELLSWORTH — Downeast shellfish harvesters are reeling as the Department of Marine Resources last Friday expanded its closure of the Downeast clam and mussel fisheries because of the westward spread of the microscopic marine organism that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP).
On Sept. 27, DMR closed Cobscook Bay from Perry and Lubec to the Canadian border to the harvesting of mussels. A day later, the department expanded the closure to include clams.
On Sept. 30, DMR closed the entire state east of Otter Point on Mount Desert Island to all clam and mussel harvesting. Last week, the closure boundary was shifted westward to encompass much of Penobscot and Blue Hill bays and the outer islands.
“Currently, mussels, carnivorous snails and surf clams are closed from Deer Isle to the Canadian border,” DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols said in an email on Friday. “All other clams (softshell and hardshell) are closed from Isle au Haut to the Canadian border; European oysters are closed from Deer Isle to Machiasport.”
Harvesters and dealers have already felt the impact.