Contact: Dr. Randolph L. Gordon
Virginia Department of Health
Governor's Press Office
Governor Approves Reopening of Pocomoke River
Richmond- Acting upon the recommendation of the Virginia Pfiesteria Task Force and Commissioner of Health Randolph L. Gordon, Governor George Allen today approved the reopening of the Virginia portion of the Pocomoke River. The Governor gave his approval from Japan, where he is currently leading a 14-day trade and investment mission.
"My recommendation was based on several factors, including the work our scientists have done as part of the Pfiesteria Task Force, the fact that is has been over a month since there have been any fish kills in the Pocomoke and the lack of confirmation of Pfiesteria piscida in our samples from the river," said Dr. Gordon. "We want Virginians to know it is perfectly safe to eat fresh, unblemished seafood from local waters, and that includes the Pocomoke."
The Pfiesteria Task Force met today at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester and also conducted a media and public briefing on the progress of Virginia's investigation.
The Pocomoke River, which forms part of the Virginia-Maryland state line, was closed on August 29, three days after dead fish were discovered on the Virginia side of the river and nine days after a fish kill occurred on the Maryland side of the river. Virginia's decision to close the river was based upon claims by Maryland officials that exposure to the Pocomoke resulted in adverse health effects.