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DMR Home > Health & Safety > Shellfish > Biotoxin Monitoring

Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

Red Tide and Shellfish Sanitation Hotline 1-800-232-4733  Bacterial Closures Inventory  PSP (Red Tide) Closures Inventory

Contacts

Alison Sirois, Western Maine Growing Area Program Supervisor (Kittery to Dice Head, Castine)
Meggan Dwyer, Eastern Maine Growing Area Program Supervisor (Dice Head, Castine to Calais)

Introduction

The Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program is administered by the Department's Bureau of Public Health.  It uses the standards outlined in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) to monitor levels of PSP (“Red Tide”) and other marine biotoxins in the shellfish of the State of Maine.

When toxin is found at levels near or above where human illness may occur, closures to the harvest of shellfish areas are implemented. Maine has historically had high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP), more commonly known as “Red Tide” during the warmer periods of the year. Shellfish samples are collected statewide between March and October and evaluated at the PSP laboratory in Boothbay Harbor. Data is then interpreted and appropriate closures are made when necessary in order to protect public health.

News 

  • May 5, 2014: The DMR Bureau of Public Health Biotoxin Program has transitioned testing techniques from the traditional mouse bioassay to a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for most species of bivalve shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters). The sample processing is done through a partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences which was successfully evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration in March.

For more information, please contact Alison Sirois at 633-9401 or Meggan Dwyer at 667-2418.

Forms and Protocols

The links below are PDF files, and require Adobe Acrobat or the free Adobe Reader (download here).  If you require an alternate format, please contact Kohl Kanwit.

For More Information