All North Carolina coastal waters to close to shellfish harvest

Morehead City, NC

All coastal waters in North Carolina will temporarily close to shellfish harvest at sunrise Thursday.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is temporarily closing state shellfish waters due to the impending impacts of Hurricane Florence. The closure will be implemented by Proclamation PA-105-2018, issued today.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Hurricane Florence will produce rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches.

Excessive rainfall can cause stormwater runoff, flooding, sanitary sewer malfunctions and lift station failures that increase contaminants in the water. Shellfish feed by filtering particles from the water. As they feed, they also concentrate any pathogens in the water, which can be harmful if consumed.

If portions of coastal North Carolina do not experience the expected rainfall amounts or other impacts from the storm, the division could reopen the waters quickly.

Otherwise, division staff will need to assess impacts and test the waters before reopening them to shellfish harvest.

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