State regulators have closed down shellfish harvesting up and down much of the coastline "until further notice."
In a notice distributed to shellfish constables, Division of Marine Fisheries Director Daniel McKiernan cited paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) as the cause of the closures. PSP is also known as red tide.
The affected towns are Amesbury, Beverly, Boston, Cohasset, Danvers, Duxbury, Essex, Gloucester, Hull, Ipswich, Lynn, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Marshfield, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, Peabody, Plymouth, Revere, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Scituate, Swampscott and Winthrop.
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The move bans the "digging, harvesting or collecting, and/or attempting to dig, harvest or collect and the possession of shellfish or carnivorous snails" in the affected shellfish growing areas.
The shellfish bed closures were effective at 4 p.m. Friday.