PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – State officials say they only recently became aware that mercury contamination in a small portion of Maine lobster had surpassed Center for Disease Control safety thresholds.
Multiple studies have been conducted by Maine and federal agencies to monitor mercury contamination in the Penobscot River.
The Maine Department of Marine Resource says it did not act earlier because only the most recent federally mandated study showed mercury levels that had exceeded the CDC safety level.
The state is closing a small area at the mouth of the river to lobster harvesting for at least two years as a precautionary measure.
Longtime Belfast fishermen David Black says the closure will most affect about 10 fishermen who set traps in that area.