The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced the end of a 21-day emergency closure of commercial and recreational shellfish harvest of oysters, clams and mussels in the Rehoboth Bay. The closure went into effect Dec. 28 after a spill from a residential sewer line in the Long Neck area of Sussex County discharged untreated wastewater into the bay.
The emergency shellfish harvest closure was initiated by DNREC on account of potential risk to public health from shellfish that may have been impacted by the event. DNREC bases the span of such emergency closures on U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, with 21 days deemed an abundance of caution for public protection against pathogens of concern, including viruses, that might be associated with wastewater exposure.
The state’s shellfish industry, consisting of commercial oyster growers and wild clam harvesters, cooperated with DNREC in continuing to ensure that all product harvested in Delaware waters is of the highest quality, and in putting the safety of consumers first when making decisions to close and open areas to shellfish harvest.
“The Delaware Aquaculture Association – representing commercial growers – and Delaware Sea Grant appreciate the continued partnership with DNREC to protect and guarantee safe production of our outstanding Delaware-grown oysters and wild clams,” said Dr. Ed Hale, marine advisory specialist for Delaware Sea Grant.
More information on shellfish harvesting areas in Delaware can be found on DNREC’s website at de.gov/shellfish.