Shellfish harvest halted in Delaware Bay

 Delaware Bay oysters (Mary Godleski/AP Photo)

Delaware Bay oysters (Mary Godleski/AP Photo)

DNREC has temporarily closed the Delaware Bay for shellfish harvesting due to undertreated wastewater contamination risks.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has enforced a temporary ban on the recreational harvesting of shellfish and closure of the Delaware Bay north of the Mispillion Inlet.

The ban is an emergency response to undertreated wastewater being released into the Murderkill River. The waste released by the Kent County treatment plant poses health risks to humans, and habitat contamination to ‘bivalve molluscan’ shellfish species including clams, oysters, and mussels.

Because there is currently no commercial shellfish harvesting underway in the bay, the ban is only applied to recreational harvesting.

The ban will not impact the harvest of crab and conch species.

The ban will be lifted 21 days after the water returns to an acceptable level of bacterial water quality.

DNREC also advises against swimming and any contact with the water in the Delaware Bay until the ban is lifted.

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