Virginia Department of Health reopens portion of Back River to shellfish harvesting

Virginia Department of HealthThe Virginia Department of Health announced that a portion of the Back River closed to shellfish harvesting on Dec. 21 due to sewage spills was reopened effective Friday.

Water quality monitoring conducted by the VDH Division of Shellfish Sanitation since the spill confirm that a portion of the river is safe to reopen for harvesting.  The revised emergency closure area is in effect from Dec. 28, 2018, through Jan. 11, 2019; however, VDH is continuing to sample water and shellfish from the river and will reopen additional areas earlier when sample results confirm that it is safe to do so.

A map of the affected area is 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.

For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations at


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