HALIFAX, N.S. - The federal Fisheries Department has lifted a recently imposed ban on shellfish harvesting along the southwest coast of New Brunswick and in parts of Nova Scotia after heavy rainfall left many areas contaminated.

The department issued a statement today saying shellfish harvesting could resume in those areas affected by the latest ban, but all pre-existing bans would remain in place.

A department spokesman says there are many areas in southwest New Brunswick that are still closed due to marine toxins and bacteriological reasons that are not related to the rainfall.

Similar rainfall-related bans recently imposed along the Alantic coast of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia's Annapolis Basin remain in place.

As well, officials have yet to lift the recently imposed ban for the area extending south from Bouctouche, N.B., to the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border on the Northumberland Strait.

However, the rainfall-related ban has been lifted on a section of the Northumberland Strait that extends from the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border to Bay St. Lawrence at the northern tip of Cape Breton.

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