Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today signed an order reopening shellfish beds in Sandy Hook Bay, effective at sunrise on Saturday, December 15, 2012.
Commissioner Martin signed the order following water monitoring and tissue sampling that found no issues with contamination from bacteria or viruses as a result of the storm. The beds had been closed since October 29 as a precaution in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.
“We are pleased to reopen these additional shellfish beds and get people back to work in areas affected by the storm,” Commissioner Martin said. “Tests also show that our ocean water quality is excellent and the water quality in Sandy Hook Bay has greatly improved.”
The DEP closed all New Jersey shellfish beds to commercial and recreational harvesting on October 29 in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, due to concerns over degradation of coastal water quality from the storm.
On November 11, the DEP reopened shellfish beds in Delaware Bay from Lower Alloways Creek south to Cape May Point after sampling found no issue with contamination as a result of the storm. On November 14, the DEP reopened shellfish beds in Atlantic coastal waters from Little Egg Inlet south to Cape May Point and on Dec. 7, the shellfish beds in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers in Monmouth County were reopened.
Beds in the Raritan Bay remain closed until further notice due to intermittent bypasses of temporary pumps at the Sayreville pump station in the Raritan River resulting from storm damage from Hurricane Sandy. Shellfish beds in Barnegat Bay also remain closed because shellfish tissue sampling results do not yet meet standards.
The DEP is continuing to monitor water quality and shellfish tissue, and will reopen shellfish beds in the remaining closed areas when monitoring and sampling criteria are met.
For more information, including a map of reopened shellfish beds, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/wms/bmw/sandy.html.
Image courtesy New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection