Water Quality Closures
The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) monitors clam flats for the presence of fecal coliform bacteria and closes the flats to harvest when bacteria counts rise above a certain level. These are called "water quality closures" which are different from Red Tide closures. While fecal contamination in and of itself is not necessarily life threatening, the presence of fecal coliform bacteria is often associated with the presence of other pathogens such as hepatitis, polio, typhoid, and those that cause food poisoning. The presence of fecal coliform bacteria simply means that there is a chance that these other pathogens may be present.
Fecal coliform bacteria comes not from "glow-in-the-dark" industrial pollution, but from a much simpler source, human sewage. Consumers of shellfish in Maine and in out-of-state markets rely on the Maine DMR shellfish sanitation program for assurance that the product they are eating is safe.
For the most current water quality closure information please go to the DMR website or call the DMR Hotline at 1-800-232-4733.