Toxic Plankton Shuts Down Shellfishing, Algae Raises Alarm
Julia Wells and Heather Hamacek
It’s been bad news for shellfishing on Martha’s Vineyard and beyond in recent days, from a state-ordered closure to the discovery last week of a heavy algae bloom in the Tisbury Great Pond.
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State Shellfish Closure Extends to Vineyard
Julia Wells

A state-ordered shellfish closure due to toxic algae blooms was extended to Martha’s Vineyard late Sunday. All Island ponds and harbors are closed to shellfishing — except for bay scalloping.

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Great Pond Algae Bloom Cause for Serious Study
Mike Seccombe

Experts are mystified by the bloom of an unknown type of algae this summer on the Edgartown Great Pond that has covered acres of the pond’s surface, choking out light to eelgrass beds and then sinking onto shellfish beds.

A sample of the algae was sent this week to the Smithsonian Institution after attempts to positively identify it through records at the Polly Hill Arboretum and through the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were inconclusive.

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Algae Bloom Spreads to Lagoon Pond
Mark Alan Lovewell

Cochlodinium, the rust-colored algae bloom that has turned up in Cape Pogue and Sengekontacket Ponds, has now invaded Lagoon Pond, Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group director Rick Karney confirmed this week. The algae was found in the west arm of the Lagoon.

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What All Lives in the Yellow Stuff We’ve Seen? Mystery Algae
Peter Brannen

On Thursday morning all was right with the Lagoon Pond. The water was clear, blue-green crystal, by all appearances the very picture of estuarine health. Just a day before, the water was clouded by an unsightly yellowish-brown fog from the head to the mouth of the Lagoon. It was an explosion of prorocentrum, an algae, and the largest one that Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group director Rick Karney has ever seen.

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