Maine Closes Lobster Harvest Area Over Mercury Concerns

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A small area at the mouth of the Penobscot River in Maine is closed to the harvesting of lobsters and crabs due to concerns about mercury contamination.

The closure by the Maine Department of Marine Resources took effect Saturday. It encompasses an area of about 7 square miles and will last a minimum of two years as a precautionary measure.

There are more than 14,000 square miles in the gulf of Maine where lobsters are harvested.

Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says the closure comes in response to information received in November 2013 about mercury contamination in muscle tissue from lobsters found in the area.

He says officials will conduct seasonal monitoring of mercury levels and decide after two years whether to reopen the area.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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