Oysters from a portion of the Lynnhaven River are safe to eat

Posted at 11:48 PM, May 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-21 23:48:12-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - After decades of murky water making shellfish unsafe to eat, the state says bon appetit if you're shucking oysters from the Lynnhaven River.

"It was like the biggest thing, it was crazy, everybody had them, everybody wanted them," said Darby Groff, the manager at Bubba's Seafood Restaurant on Shore Drive. "And we'd like to see that continue."

It's not all good news on the Lynnhaven River, only a portion of the water is clean enough to eat oysters from and that's only part of the time.

A hard rain like Virginia Beach had Monday makes it so the oysters are not clean enough to eat for 10 days after an inch of rain has fallen."

Jack Slagel has lived on the water for 30 years. In his cove, the water isn't clean enough yet for oysters. He's hoping it gets there soon.

"The last ten years the oysters have really returned to this hole, all the banks, that you see around the Lynnhaven," Slagel said.

But the oysters haven't made a full comeback.

"Our problem right now is that the oysters that they're getting are in so high demand that the price is high, so it makes it a little unreasonable to sell 'em on a plate," Groff said.

So restaurants like Bubba's on Shore Drive are forced to go to the Eastern Shore to get their shellfish fix. That's out of necessity, not choice. Ten more years of the river's water clearing up, and they may have all they need in their back yard.