November 12, 2020
Media Contact: Larry Hill, Eastern Region PIO, 757-683-9175, firstname.lastname@example.org
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CLOSES A PORTION OF THE JAMES RIVER TO SHELLFISH HARVESTING
(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today 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 unacceptable for consumption. The temporary emergency closure is set to be effective from November 13, 2020, through November 22, 2020. 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.
A map of the affected area is posted on the Division of Shellfish Safety’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish/. The affected shellfish are filter-feeding bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.
For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations at www.vdh.virginia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth/Shellfish/faq/.