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Virginia Department of Health closes portion of James River to shellfish harvesting after flooding

Fishing nets
Posted at 9:41 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 21:41:32-05

RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Department of Health announced Thursday that a portion of the James River is closed to shellfish harvesting due to significant river flooding.

Because floodwaters can be contaminated with pollutants such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses, shellfish taken from the area affected by the emergency closure are currently not suitable for consumption.

The temporary emergency closure is set to be effective from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22. However, the Shellfish Safety Division will be conducting water quality monitoring and will reopen earlier if it is safe to do so.

Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis. The affected shellfish are filter-feeding bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.

A map of the affected area is posted on the Division of Shellfish Safety’s homepage, which can be seen here.

For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations here.