Shellfish beds in Barnegat Bay south of the Route 37 bridge to Oyster Creek reopened at sunrise today as a result of an order signed by Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin.
DEP tissue sampling of shellfish from this area of the bay now meet standards set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, a state and federal cooperative effort that monitors and ensures the health safety of shellfish.
These beds had been closed since October 29 as part of a statewide closure of all New Jersey shellfish beds to commercial and recreational harvesting due to concerns over degradation of coastal water quality caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“We are pleased to reopen these additional shellfish beds and get people back to work in areas that had been affected by the storm,” Commissioner Martin said. “Tests also show that our ocean water quality continues to be excellent.”
All but two of the state’s shellfish areas that were closed as a result of the October 29 order have now been now reopened. The two areas that remain closed are Raritan Bay (due to concerns with sporadic wastewater discharges from the Middlesex County Utilities Authority’s Sayreville pump station) and beds in Barnegat Bay from Oyster Creek south to Little Egg Inlet.
The DEP is continuing to monitor water quality and shellfish tissue in these areas and will reopen them 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
Logo courtesy New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection