Virginia Department Of Health Closes A Portion Of The Back River To Shellfish Harvesting

October 11, 2016

For More Information Contact

  • Lauren Cunningham, 804-864-7963

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today that an additional portion of the Back River will be closed to shellfish harvesting due to the recent flooding and contamination from sewage spills. The emergency closure is effective October 11, 2016.

The heavy rainfall associated with the remnants of Hurricane Matthew caused extensive flooding and sewage overflows impacting a portion of the Back River in Hampton and Poquoson.  Due to potential microbiological and chemical pollution hazards, shellfish taken from this area are currently unacceptable for consumption.

The emergency closure is effective October 11, 2016, and is scheduled to reopen effective November 1, 2016.  The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor the shellfish and water quality during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner.

Maps of the affected areas are posted on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page at The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.

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 at