Delaware Bay shellfish beds reopen after being shut down due to - NBC40.net

Delaware Bay shellfish beds reopen after being shut down due to Hurricane Sandy

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CAPE MAY COUNTY -

After two weeks of tests following Hurricane Sandy, the Delaware Bay shellfish beds have re-opened and are back to business as usual.

"We knew Hurricane Sandy was coming up and we knew there could be some severe impacts to our coast," said Department of Environmental Protection Press Director, Larry Ragonese.

Because of the massive flooding, and severe winds associated with Sandy, the Department of Environmental Protection felt it best to shut down the shellfish beds ahead of time to make sure no bacteria contaminated the waters the shellfish are raised in, saying that it was better to be safe than sorry.

"The last thing you want would be for any tainted shellfish to get into the market," said Ragonese.

But luckily for South Jersey fisheries, tests along the Delaware Bay came back negative.

"We pretty much returned to our normal routine. I let my customers know right away that the waters were opened again," said Oyster Farm Manager at Atlantic Cape Fisheries, Brian Harman.

Crews from the Atlantic Cape Fisheries have already begun collecting shellfish. They mainly sell oysters, which they say will be a top seller during the upcoming holiday season and are grateful they will not lose anymore business.

"It's really good they are open again. From here until Christmas we expect sales to increase so it's really good to have these beds open." Said Harman.

And they are using every minute to provide for their customers and get back on their feet.

"The guys are busy filling orders and we will get them on trucks tonight to go out."

As for the rest of the shellfish beds along the Atlantic Coastal Waters the D.E.P. hopes to re-open them by next week, as long as the tests for bacteria come back negative.

Fisheries employ nearly 6,000 people in New Jersey, and bring in almost nine million dollars for the state economy.

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