Maine Shellfish Growing Area Classification — a program of theState of Maine Department of Marine Resources
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. Because molluscan shellfish, such as clams, mussels, oysters, quahogs, 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:
- A shoreline survey, which identifies pollution sources that may impact water quality. The program evaluates sewage treatment plants, onsite sewage systems, animal farms, drainage ways, and wildlife;
- Marine water sampling to determine fecal coliform bacterial levels in the marine water; and
- Analysis of how weather conditions, tides, currents, and other factors may affect the distribution of pollutants in the area.
Click this link for a description of each growing area: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/shellfish-sanitation-management/programs/growingareas/reports/index.html
DMR now has a map of the entire coast of Maine that shows all the aquaculture leases and shellfish closure areas, and are adding a layer that will show each water sample locations and the water quality score associated with each station. These maps will be updated monthly so will closely reflect current conditions.
Click this link to view these maps: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/aquaculture/leases/decisions/index.html