BRUNSWICK — Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams has announced that Georgia’s territorial waters will close to commercial and recreational oyster harvest effective 6 a.m., Sunday, June 1, through midnight Tuesday, Sept. 30.
A similar closure occurred in 2013 to meet the requirements of Georgia’s Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) control plan. Vp is naturally occurring bacteria found in filter-feeding shellfish. It occurs at higher concentrations during the months of the year when coastal water temperatures are warm.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, most Vp illness cases due to consumption of raw oysters are under-reported.
The onset of Vp illness generally occurs within three days, and common symptoms include vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, fever and chills.
Thorough cooking of oysters and other shellfish generally will destroy all bacteria including Vp.
The harvest of clams from approved shellfish harvesting areas will be permitted during the summer months.
“Unlike oysters, which are frequently consumed raw, clams are traditionally cooked with high heat — a process that kills the Vp bacteria,” explained Dominic Guadagnoli, shellfish fishery manager for the Coastal Resources Division.
For more information, call 912-264-7218.