Mussels Disappearing from New England Waters, Scientists Say 

In this 2014 photo provided by the University of California, Irvine, a blue mussel clings to a rock at Mount Desert Island, on the Maine coast. A 2016 scientific study said the mussels, which are beloved by seafood fans, have declined dramatically in the Gulf of Maine. (Kylla Benes/University of California, Irvine via AP)

In this 2014 photo provided by the University of California, Irvine, a blue mussel clings to a rock at Mount Desert Island, on the Maine coast. A 2016 scientific study said the mussels, which are beloved by seafood fans, have declined dramatically in the Gulf of Maine. (Kylla Benes/University of California, Irvine via AP)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Scientists say the Gulf of Maine’s once strong population of wild blue mussels is disappearing.

A recent report in the journal of Global Change Biology says the numbers along the gulf coastline have declined by more than 60 percent over the last 40 years.

The Gulf of Maine stretches from Cape Cod to Canada and is a key marine environment.

Blue mussels are used in seafood dishes. They are worth millions to the economy of states like Maine and Massachusetts.

But they also are important in moving bacteria and toxins out of the water.

Biologist Cascade Sorte of the University of California, Irvine, and her colleagues conducted the study.

She says that for marine habitats, it is like losing a forest.

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