October 3, 2022
Media Contact: Larry Hill, Eastern Region PIO, 757-449-4287, firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Department of Health Modifies Shellfish Harvesting Closures Effective midnight October 4, 2022
RICHMOND, Va.— The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is rescinding an earlier emergency shellfish closure order impacting the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay and west of and including the Virginia Inside Passage of the Eastern Shore due to tidal flooding and the remnants of a weather system from Hurricane Ian. Instead, a new closure order has been issued which removes the Potomac tributaries, the Rappahannock River and its tributaries, the York River and its tributaries, and northern portions of the Bayside of the Eastern Shore based on updated weather forecasts.
The re-issued order also goes into effect tonight, at midnight, October 4, 2022. The affected areas are posted on the Division of Shellfish Safety’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish/ and are found in the map below.
The emergency closure by VDH is intended to protect consumers from potential microbiological and chemical pollution hazards introduced into shellfish harvesting areas due to tidal flooding. Affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.
“We expect to monitor the situation closely and open harvesting areas as quickly and safely as possible by mobilizing all agency assets,” said Dr. Parham Jaberi, chief deputy commissioner with the Virginia Department of Health. Dr. Jaberi further noted, “We hope that this is a short-lived event and will continue to keep our community and industry partners apprised through additional daily updates.”
These closures will be re-evaluated daily with the latest information on water quality samples.
For more information on shellfish closures, visit the VDH frequently asked questions website on shellfish condemnations.