Emergency order closes part of James River for shellfish harvesting due to heavy rain


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RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health announced today that a portion of the James River is closed to shellfish harvesting due to significant river flooding.  

The temporary emergency closure is effective from Nov. 13, through Nov. 22. However, the Shellfish Safety Division will be conducting water quality monitoring and will reopen earlier if it is safe to do so. 

“Floodwaters can be contaminated with pollutants such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses, and shellfish taken from the area affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption,” VDH officials said in a statement released Thursday.  

The affected shellfish are filter-feeding bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or finfish.

Ingesting any 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 vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish. For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations at vdh.virginia.gov.

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