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DMR Home > Health & Safety > Shellfish > Biotoxin Monitoring

Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

Red Tide and Shellfish Sanitation Hotline 1-800-232-4733  Bacterial Closures Inventory  PSP (Red Tide) Closures Inventory

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)

Some of the links below are PDF files, and require Adobe Acrobat or the free Adobe Reader (download here).  If you require an alternate format, please contact Kohl Kanwit .


The Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program is administered by the Department's Bureau of Public Health.  It uses the standards outlined in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) to monitor levels of PSP (“Red Tide”) and other marine biotoxins in the shellfish of the State of Maine.

When toxin is found at levels near or above where human illness may occur, closures to the harvest of shellfish areas are implemented. Maine has historically had high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP), more commonly known as “Red Tide” during the warmer periods of the year. Shellfish samples are collected statewide between March and October and evaluated at the PSP laboratory in Boothbay Harbor. Data is then interpreted and appropriate closures are made when necessary.

News     (updated April 23, 2013)

The DMR Bureau of Public Health Biotoxin Program plans to upgrade testing techniques to a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for most species of bivalve shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters etc). The program is also considering changes to its sampling strategy including creating regional mussel closures during the height of the biotoxin season and maintaining exception areas for wild and recreational mussel harvest.

For more information, please contact Alison Sirois at 633-9401 or Meggan Dwyer.

Select the following link for the Phytoplankton Monitoring Volunteer SOP: Phytoplankton volunteer SOP (3.9 MB, pdf).


Sampling MOU for Industry (60 KB, pdf)

PSP Sample Protocol (131 KB, pdf)

Field Sheet (12 KB, pdf)

FDA Laboratory Evaluation

Federal Grant Reports

For More Information