- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts regulators say several fishing areas in the southern coast and Buzzards Bay areas are no longer open to shellfishing because of a potential toxic bloom of phytoplankton.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries says it has determined that the areas are unsafe for digging, harvesting or collecting shellfish. The closure took effect at sunrise on Saturday.

Authorities say the phytoplankton bloom can cause amnesiac shellfish poisoning.

Algal blooms have also prompted closures of shellfishing beds elsewhere in New England, including most of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and much of the coast of Maine.

The Massachusetts closure applies to fishing areas in Bourne, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Falmouth, Marion, Mattapoisett, Westport, New Bedford, Gosnold and Lackeys Bay in Gosnold.

Phytoplankton are mostly microscopic organisms that live in the water.

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