Richmond, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that a portion of the James River will be closed to shellfish harvesting due to flooding and contamination from sewage spills.
The emergency closure is effective August 27, 2012. The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.
Heavy rainfall on the Peninsula caused extensive flooding and sewage bypasses impacting the James River and tributaries in the Newport News vicinity. Due to potential microbiological and chemical pollution hazards, shellfish taken from areas affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption.
Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis.
Maps of the affected areas are posted on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish/