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State says no red tide in Rhode Island; precautions announced

Boston Globe
June 17, 2005

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --State officials filed emergency regulations on Friday prohibiting shellfish landings from vessels operating in offshore waters afflicted with red tide, an outbreak that has not reached Rhode Island waters.

The ban applies to federally permitted vessels that have passed through or harvested shellfish in the affected areas, said officials with the Department of Environmental Management and the Health Department. They added the measures are precautionary, and there is no evidence of contaminated shellfish in Rhode Island.

The departments issued the regulations at the request of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The worst red tide in decades struck New England from Maine to Cape Cod this month after a series of nor'easters in May drove the algae toward shore from offshore waters.

The DEM said it was told Friday that low levels of red tide have been detected several miles offshore of the Massachusetts coastline near the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border.

"At this time all Rhode Island waters remain open to shellfishing, and we will continue to monitor them with the utmost vigilance," said Michael Sullivan, DEM's acting director.