Department of Marine Resources

Shellfish class required for Damariscotta River harvesters

Posted:  Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 3:30pm
Share: 

All harvesters who are taking oysters or hard shell clams from the Damariscotta River, or buying shellfish from harvesters working on the river, are required to attend an annual training session to help combat Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp). Vp is a bacterium that inhabits brackish water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it multiplies in warmer waters and infects oysters and other hard shelled mollusks.

Vp causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, usually within 24 hours of eating raw or under-cooked shellfish. Last year, there were 4,500 cases reported, but because the illness only lasts for a few days, it is believed that many other cases go unreported. The bacterium can also cause wound infections and septicemia.

The class will be held on Monday, Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Department of Marine Resources West Boothbay Harbor facility at 194 McKown Road. Anyone who attended the Feb. 10 class is not required to take the class on Feb. 22.

The time for the Vp Control Plan is between May 1 and Oct. 31. During that time, recreational harvesting is prohibited, as is sale of both American and European oysters and hard shell clams from homes. All harvesters must submit a Vp Control Plan to DMR by March 1, and must keep shellfish cool, and take records of the air temperature during the harvest and transport.

To register for the class, email: angel.ripley@maine.gov. Walk-ins are also welcome.