Red tide not as fearsome as predicted this year

Posted May 29, 2010, at 1:09 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

BARNSTABLE, Mass. — Dire predictions of widespread red tide outbreaks this spring have so far proven wrong.

State and federal officials warned in February that massive blooms of the toxic algae could close shellfish beds from Maine to Cape Cod this spring and summer.

But Massachusetts’ top shellfish biologist tells the Cape Cod Times there’s “nothing going on.” Michael Hickey says coastal monitoring and research cruises in the Gulf of Maine and Massachusetts Bay are showing only low levels of red tide.

Officials were concerned after fall surveys showed high levels of the red tide algae cysts that seed the next year’s bloom. But a big problem hasn’t materialized.

Hickey said there’s a chance of big blooms later this year. But he said he always feels better if Memorial Day weekend passes without major problems.

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