Virginia Department of Health Reopens Part of the James River to Shellfish Harvesting

October 8, 2015

For More Information Contact

  • Larry Hill (757) 683-9175

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health announced the reopening of a portion of the James River closed to shellfishing last week. Today’s announcement reopens nearly 20 miles of the river that was initially closed on October 5 due to heavy rainfall and tidal flooding. The area still closed includes the James River downstream of the James River Bridge including Ragged Island Creek, Chuckatuck Creek and the Nansemond River. Department of Health staff will continue to assess the situation throughout the region and may further 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