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DEPT. OF MARINE RESOURCES
Maine Shellfish Growing Area Classification Program
Alison Sirois, Western Maine Growing Area Program Supervisor (Kittery to Dice Head, Castine)
Meggan Dwyer, Eastern Maine Growing Area Program Supervisor (Dice Head, Castine to Calais)
The Growing Area Classification Program evaluates all shellfish growing areas in the state of Maine to determine their suitability of harvest. See Maine Shellfish Growing Area Reports.
This program is guided by the NSSP standards. Please select this link to find the 2011 NSSP Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish (commonly called the "Model Ordinance").Because molluscan shellfish (those that have a hinged shell, such as clams, mussels, oysters, quahogs, etc.) are filter feeders, the quality of the waters in which they grow is a key factor in determining whether they are safe to eat.
Growing Area Surveys
A growing area's classification is determined by conducting a "sanitary survey," which is a three-fold process consisting of:
Growing Area Classifications
Each commercially harvested growing area is assigned a "classification" according to the results of its evaluation. A growing area may be classified as Approved, Conditionally Approved, Restricted, Conditionally Restricted, or Prohibited.
Once classified, all shellfish growing areas are regularly monitored. Marine water samples are collected throughout the year. Shoreline surveys are conducted less frequently, but each year some portion of the Maine coast (47 shellfish growing areas) are surveyed. During those surveys, all actual and potential pollution sources that may impact water quality are evaluated.
Maine Growing Area Classification Legal Notices Inventory
Reports and Studies
Resources and Educational Material for Municipalities and Industry
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