By Meredith Haas, January 7, 2017
An unprecedented algal bloom that spanned from Long Island to Maine triggered a shellfishing ban in Narragansett Bay for most of October. After it ended and shellfish beds reopened, fishermen, shellfish farmers, and environmental managers convened at a public meeting in December to try to understand what caused the bloom and what to do about future events.
Monitors found elevated counts of a type of plankton that was responsible for the bloom outside of Newport Harbor at the end of September, said Angelo Liberti, chief of water resources at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), at the meeting held to share information that DEM and the state health department collected during the bloom, and to discuss future monitoring and testing efforts.
Liberti was referring to Pseudo-nitzschia, a genus of plankton that can produce domoic acid, a neurotoxin that, if ingested in dangerous amounts, can cause illnesses ranging from gastrointestinal problems and lethargy to short-term memory loss…..