Virginia Department of Health Closes the James River to Shellfish Harvesting

October 2, 2015

For More Information Contact

  • Michelle Stoll (804) 864-7963

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that the James River downstream to the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel will be closed to shellfish harvesting due to severe weather associated with inland heavy rains. The emergency closure will be effective October 5, 2015 through October 13, 2015. VDH staff will continue to assess the situation throughout the region and may revise the closure as conditions indicate.

A map of the affected areas is posted at The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters, clams and scallops, but not crabs or fin fish.

Heavy rainfall from inland storms and tidal flooding may wash animal waste and human sewage into tidal waters from upland areas. Due to potential microbiological and chemical pollution hazards, shellfish taken from areas affected by these hazards are unacceptable for consumption.

Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis.

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