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Massachusetts reopens waters to shellfishing

Large areas of ocean south of Cape Cod have been reopened for shellfishing, Massachusetts officials announced.

The waters had been closed for much of October due to unprecedented levels of toxic algae.

The shutdowns dealt an economic blow to the area’s shellfishing industry, prompting Governor Charlie Baker’s administration to say it will review whether it has grounds to petition for federal money that can be distributed as aid to local shellfishermen.

Officials lifted the restrictions effective noon Monday, saying that tests had found the contamination had “dissipated” and that the shellfish are “safe to harvest for direct human consumption,” said a letter from Division of Marine Fisheries director David E. Pierce.


The same type of toxic algae has been responsible for recent shellfishing closures in Maine and Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, an area of ocean off of Wellfleet has been closed in recent weeks because of a separate issue, norovirus. That area remains closed and is not expected to reopen until Nov. 17 at the earliest. Because of the closure, no raw oysters were served at the Wellfleet OysterFest in October.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele