Intensive monitoring and good luck may
share the credit for Maine’s ability so far to dodge the
red-tide-caused economic damage sustained along the coast during
the summer of 2005.
Toxic algae has already prompted curbs on shellfish harvesting
and more red tide could still blow in.
But an intensified monitoring effort has kept more Down East
clam diggers working this time and state officials hope the
preparations also will help the shellfish industry in southern
Maine if red tide surges.
The state is using a federally funded network of buoys to detect
blooms of red tide and serve as an early warning system. It also is
using $143,000 in federal disaster aid from the 2005 red tide bloom
to triple the size of its monitoring staff so that 12 people can
visit the state’s harbors and bays to collect samples of clams and