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More than 2,500 acres of shellfish waters closing to harvest

On March 15, the Division of Marine Fisheries closed 2,877 acres of shellfish waters to shellfish harvest due to high fecal coliform bacteria pollution.

The closures took effect at sunset and are based on annual reports that consider the last 30 water samples (about five years of data) taken in each growing area. If the bacteria levels are found to exceed the national standards for safe shellfish harvest, the waters must close to shellfishing.

Staff with the division’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section believe the high rainfall in 2014, 2015 and 2018 contributed to these changes.

Most of the larger closure areas are being classified as conditionally approved closed, which means they may still be able to open during dry periods. In addition, the division will continue to monitor the waters in case any meet the criteria to be reclassified as open.

The following waters are changing from conditionally approved open to conditionally approved closed:

  • 255 acres in Lockwoods Folly River upstream of a line from Spring Creek to Horse Island
  • 613 acres in Great Creek and Ditch Cove, tributaries of Jarrett Bay near Davis
  • 53 acres of the Intracoastal Waterway around Peden Point and IWW Marker 141 in Masonboro Sound
  • 33 acres in Newport River, just beyond the current closure line

The following waters are changing from conditionally approved open to restricted: 20 acres around the mouth of Dicks Creek off of Queens Creek

The following waters are changing from approved to restricted:

  • 1,140 acres in South River upstream of a line across the river beginning just south of Big Creek and the Division of Marine Fisheries facility
  • 6 acres in a small bay off of Bogue Sound near the end of Bogue Sound Drive in Emerald Isle.
  • 80 acres in the Intracoastal Waterway between the Hobucken Bridge and the junction with Upper Spring Creek
  • 230 acres upstream of the mouth of Lower Spring Creek Off Goose Creek
  • 45 acres upstream of the mouth of Satterthwaite Creek off Pungo River
  • 27 acres of Oyster Creek near Lowland
  • 80 acres in Croatan Sound expanding the existing closure at the south end of Wanchese around the “Cut Through”

The following waters are changing from approved to prohibited:

  • 33 acres along the shore southeast of the Cedar Island Ferry Terminal in Pamlico Sound
  • 7 acres around the mouth of the Cedar Island Community Boat Harbor extending to Beacon 8 in Cedar Island Bay
  • 205 acres in Eastham Creek off of Goose Creek up to Marker 3 near the mouth
  • 34 acres around the mouth of Jordan Creek off the Pungo River
  • 3 acres in Point Peter Canal, an agricultural canal off of Croatan Sound near Stumpy Point
  • 13 acres in Baumtown Road Canals, a series of marsh canals north of Baumtown Road in Wanchese

For more specifics on all shellfish closures, including GIS coordinates and maps, see Proclamation PA-PC-2019 at ncdenr.org. The proclamation is the annual listing of all waters closed to shellfish harvest. The complete listing is 46 pages long.

For more information, contact Shannon Jenkins, chief of the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section, at 252-808-8148 or shannon.jenkins@ncdenr.gov.

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