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Environment and Outdoors

Maine Officials: Algal Bloom Is Harmful To Marine Life, Not Humans

The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it’s monitoring a large, unusual phytoplankton bloom that has been observed in the Casco Bay region from Portland northeast to Harpswell.

Department spokesman Jeff Nichols says, while the bloom isn’t a threat to human health, the species, Karenia mikimotoi, can be harmful to finfish, shellfish and other marine organisms. There have been fish kills reported during blooms in Hong Kong, Australia, Ireland, Japan and Alaska.

DMR wants area dealers, aquaculture lease holders and harvesters to be on the lookout for any symptoms.

“Which basically is lethargy in the harvested product to make sure they’re taking action to ensure that only the healthiest product enters the supply chain and also to let the department know,” Nichols says.

The department says the toxicity of the species is not fully understood. Nichols says this is the first year DMR has observed this specific phytoplankton.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.