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>>

  • Local Fans React to Cape-Smyrna "Basketbrawl"

    Local Fans React to Cape-Smyrna "Basketbrawl"

    Feb 23, 2018 10:21 PM2018-02-24 03:21:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 10:22 PM EST2018-02-24 03:22:26 GMT
    DOVER, Del.- After a fight broke out at a high school basketball game on Thursday night, local fans were shocked that violence ensued during a playoff match-up. The fight broke out before the conference game between Cape Henlopen and Smyrna finished at MiMore
    After a fight broke out at a high school basketball game on Thursday night, local fans were shocked that violence ensued during a playoff match-up. More
  • Man Pleads Guilty in 2017 Laurel Murder

    Man Pleads Guilty in 2017 Laurel Murder

    Feb 23, 2018 2:53 PM2018-02-23 19:53:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 3:42 PM EST2018-02-23 20:42:59 GMT
    Stephon JacksonStephon Jackson
    Stephon JacksonStephon Jackson
    A 19-year-old Laurel man faces up to 105 years in prison after pleading guilty to a 2017 shooting that left an 18-year-old man dead.More
    A 19-year-old Laurel man faces up to 105 years in prison after pleading guilty to a 2017 shooting that left an 18-year-old man dead.More
  • Hebron Man Assaults Deputy, Sheriff's Say

    Hebron Man Assaults Deputy, Sheriff's Say

    Feb 23, 2018 6:17 PM2018-02-23 23:17:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 6:17 PM EST2018-02-23 23:17:38 GMT
    A Hebron man faces assault charges after he allegedly attacked a Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputy while being arrested for drug possession among other illegal activity.More
    A Hebron man faces assault charges after he allegedly attacked a Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputy while being arrested for drug possession among other illegal activity.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices