creative commons

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia's health department has closed shellfish harvesting on part of a Chesapeake Bay estuary because of a raw sewage spill.

The Virginia Department of Health said in a statement Wednesday that the spill was on a portion of Back River in Hampton. The ban on shellfish harvesting is due to potential contamination. It includes oysters and clams but not crabs or fin fish.

The emergency closure will remain in effect until June 7. The department's Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor water quality in the meantime.

creative commons wikimedia

MILFORD, Del. (AP) - Shellfish harvest in the Delaware Bay and inland rivers has been suspended for the second time this year because of wastewater discharge.

The Delaware State News reports Kent County Public Works Director Andrew Jakubowitch says the Kent County wastewater treatment plant has been discharging "undertreated" wastewater since July 5 because of operational issues, resulting in significantly elevated levels of the enterococcus bacteria.

Don Rush

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - A researcher at William & Mary says that "big, honkin' grandma oysters" could improve the Chesapeake Bay's oyster stock.

Geology Professor Rowan Lockwood says in a university press release that larger, older oysters produce more offspring. And some studies suggest they're more tolerant to disease. 

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Health has ordered the emergency closure of thousands of acres of shellfish harvesting waters to avoid potential contamination from Hurricane Matthew-related flooding and sewage spills "likely containing pathogenic bacteria and viruses."

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports  the closures are effective until the end of the month. An additional 80,000 acres of oyster grounds are in "restricted status," meaning harvesting is subject to rainfall and monitoring results because of potential pollution.

creative commons

BALTIMORE (AP) - State environmental officials have closed parts of some waterways in Dorchester County to shellfish harvesting after unacceptable bacteria levels were detected.

The Maryland Department of the Environment said Thursday that the Hurst Creek and Whitehall Creek areas and a portion of the upper Choptank River were closed to shellfish harvesting earlier this week.

About 308 acres of the waterways are affected.

creative commons wikimedia

REHOBOTH, Del. (AP) - Delaware's status as the only state on the East Coast that does not have a shellfish aquaculture industry is about to end.

A bill to be signed Wednesday by Gov. Jack Markell creates a new commercial shellfish aquaculture that officials say could provide economic benefits while improving water quality in Delaware's inland bays.

The bill authorizes the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to direct and control aquaculture activities within the Inland Bays and to set criteria for leasing sites.

The Maryland Department of the Environment says that shellfish harvesting can now take place in part of a Somerset County waterway at any time.

Waterman Wayne Bozman said the opening of this waterway for anytime harvesting may help those with private oyster grounds.

An oyster lease allows an individual, business or university to grow shellfish in a certain area.

About 943 acres of shellfish harvesting waters — including about 53 acres of oyster leases — of the Big Annemessex River have been opened to anytime harvesting.





      BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Department of the Environment has lifted shellfish harvesting restrictions in portions of three waterways following a decline in bacteria levels.

     Officials said Monday that an area of the Wicomico River at the border of Wicomico and Somerset counties has been approved for harvesting.