MDE: Additional Areas Closed to Shellfish Harvesting Near Smith - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

MDE: Additional Areas Closed to Shellfish Harvesting Near Smith Island

Posted: Updated:
BALTIMORE, Md.- The Maryland Department of the Environment has expanded the area of water closed to shellfish harvesting near Smith Island in Somerset County.

The Department announced Tuesday that it closed waters near the north end of the island and waters on the south end, including the southern end of Tyler Creek extending to the border with Virginia. Officials say about 1,900 acres of water that had previously been approved for shellfish harvesting have been reclassified as restricted, meaning that they are closed to shellfish harvesting.

The change became effective Monday through notice to regulating authorities and stakeholders. Officials say other Smith Island waterways that had previously been classified as restricted remain closed to shellfish harvesting.

MDE says it conducts regular surveys to identify potential pollution sources near shellfish harvesting waters. The department says the change is necessary due to elevated bacterial levels observed in these waters and the risk presented by the Ewell-Rhodes Point and Tylerton wastewater treatment facilities, which serve the homes on Smith Island. Data submitted to MDE show that those facilities have periodically exceeded effluent limits in their discharge permits. MDE provided a $30,000 grant to Somerset County to help fund planning for an upgrade of the facilities.

Information on shellfish harvesting areas is available on MDE's website. These designations apply only to the harvesting of shellfish (oysters and clams); they do not apply to fishing or crabbing. Consumption advisories for recreationally caught fish and crabs can also be found on MDE's website.

MDE monitors bacteriological water quality and conducts pollution source surveys to determine which areas are safe for the harvesting of shellfish. The Department is required to close areas that do not meet the strict water quality standards for shellfish harvesting waters and it has a longstanding policy to reopen areas to shellfish harvesting when water quality improves.

Shellfish are filter feeders with the ability to filter water and get food from microscopic organisms in the water. If the waters are polluted, officials say this filtering process can concentrate disease-causing organisms associated with raw sewage and other sources, such as animal waste. Oysters and clams are often eaten raw or partially cooked and must come from waters that are not polluted.

MDE says these actions are necessary to protect public health by preventing harvest from the areas impacted and ensure Maryland remains in compliance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Former NFL Cheerleader Completes Weekend Del. Prison Stays

    Former NFL Cheerleader Completes Weekend Del. Prison Stays

    09/21/2017 04:07:00 -04:002017-09-21 08:07:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 4:10 AM EDT2017-09-21 08:10:21 GMT
    A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old boy at a vacation rental home in Delaware no longer has to report every other weekend to a Delaware prison facility.More
    A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old boy at a vacation rental home in Delaware no longer has to report every other weekend to a Delaware prison facility.More
  • 39 Arrests in Smyrna Street Drug Operation

    39 Arrests in Smyrna Street Drug Operation

    09/20/2017 04:11:00 -04:002017-09-20 08:11:00 GMT
    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:51 AM EDT2017-09-20 14:51:57 GMT

    A major investigation into a street drug operation in Smyrna leads to the arrest of 39 people, authorities said.

    More

    A major investigation into a street drug operation in Smyrna, Del. has led to the arrest of 39 people, authorities said.

    More
  • Woman Arrested In Newark Home Invasion

    Woman Arrested In Newark Home Invasion

    09/20/2017 22:25:00 -04:002017-09-21 02:25:00 GMT
    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:36 PM EDT2017-09-21 02:36:24 GMT
    Courtesy of New Castle County PoliceCourtesy of New Castle County Police
    New Castle County Police have arrested 32-year-old Elizabeth Noone in connection to the home invasion that occurred in the community of Stones Throw Townhouses this morning.More
    New Castle County Police have arrested 32-year-old Elizabeth Noone in connection to the home invasion that occurred in the community of Stones Throw Townhouses this morning.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices