Georgia’s territorial waters will reopen to commercial and recreational oyster harvest effective 7 a.m. Thursday.
Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams announced in May that oyster harvest in state waters would close June 1 midnight today. A similar closure occurred in 2014 to meet the requirements of Georgia’s Vibrio parahaemolyticus, or Vp, control plan.
Vp is naturally occurring bacteria found in filter-feeding shellfish. It occurs at higher concentrations during the warmer months. Most consumers purchase shellfish during the cooler months. Here are a few things to look for when buying shellfish:
• Only buy fresh in-shell oysters, clams or mussels from a licensed retail or wholesale seafood dealer that has product properly tagged with a harvest location, dealer name and date. Ensure that the product has been processed by a certified dealer with the name, address and dealer certificate number on the tag or label.
• Only buy shellfish that were refrigerated or iced at
45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
• Shellfish should never be consumed raw by individuals who have compromised immune systems.
• Risk of illness from consuming shellfish can be significantly reduced if the product is thoroughly cooked.
For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Seafood Safety Office at 912-963-2500 or the Food Safety Division at 404-656-3621, or go to www.safeoysters.org for more information
For more information on oyster harvesting in Georgia, contact the Coastal Resources Division at 912-264-7218.