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Snail harvesting permitted but other shellfish still banned

Environmental officials in Rhode Island are lifting a ban on harvesting certain snails even as a ban on other types of shellfish remains in effect because of a harmful algae bloom.

The state Department of Environmental Management said Tuesday it will permit harvesting of carnivorous snails like whelk and moon snails in lower Narragansett Bay, lower Sakonnet River, and a portion of the Rhode Island Sound.

But harvesting of all other types of shellfish remains in effect for those areas.

The state imposed the shellfishing closure Oct. 21. State health and environment officials have been conducting regular water and shellfish tests for the presence of domoic acid, which they say is responsible for poisoning in humans.

Officials say whelk collected from the closed areas tested negative for the toxin Monday.

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