Island Escapes Toxic Red Tide

The bloom of toxic red tide that closed shellfish beds from Maine to Nantucket spared the Vineyard this week, fading off the eastern shore of Chappaquiddick into Nantucket Sound.

Shellfish samples taken on Monday in Oak Bluffs, Menemsha and Edgartown came back clean in two separate rounds of testing, so no ponds were closed on the Vineyard, despite vague reports in the mainland print press of closures in Edgartown.

The conch fishery in Nantucket Sound has been closed.

Red Tide Moves Closer; Shellfishermen Watchful

The worst bloom of toxic red tide in the history of New England closed in on the Vineyard yesterday after shellfish beds were shut down from Maine to Nantucket, and anxious Island shellfishermen awaited word about a possible closure in their own waters.

"I am just hoping it doesn't come here," said Rob Garrison, director of the solar hatchery run by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

"It certainly is close," said Rick Karney, director of the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group.

State Closes Shellfishing in Federal Water Zones

Though state waters around the Vineyard, Nantucket and south and east of Cape Cod remain clear of red tide, the state late last week as a precautionary measure closed federal waters to shellfishing. These are waters that are more than three miles from shore.

State Closes Eastern Nantucket Sound to Shellfishing

The state Division of Marine Fisheries yesterday expanded closed shellfish areas to include the eastern side of Nantucket Sound due to red tide. The closure does not affect fish or shellfish harvested and landed in Vineyard waters.

The agency sent out the notification for the benefit of shellfishermen and fish markets that sell shellfish wholesale and retail. Affected shellfish include surf clams, ocean quahaugs, mussels, carnivorous snails and whole sea scallops. Those scallops are exempt if only the adductor muscle is landed.