Baton Rouge—All of Louisiana's active oyster harvest areas will be operational tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 21 when the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reopens the three remaining oyster beds, which were closed as a precautionary measure in advance of Hurricane Issac's landfall.
Oyster harvesting areas 11-13, which are in Jefferson, Lafourche and Plaquemines parishes, will reopen a half an hour before sunrise tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 21. Small segments of Area 12 that have been closed since the 2010 BP oil spill remain closed.
The order to reopen these harvest areas was signed by DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein, Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry.
The State closed all active oyster harvesting areas (1-28) on Aug. 28 as a precaution before Hurricane Isaac because flooding and storm runoff can cause natural contaminants, such as human or animal waste, to wash into oyster-growing areas, making them unsafe to eat.
Since Hurricane Isaac struck the coast, staff with DHH's Molluscan Shellfish Program have been collecting and analyzing water samples and oysters from the closed harvest areas. State health officials reopen a closed oyster harvesting area once the water and oyster meat samples test clear of contaminants and meet criteria established by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.
Water standards for oyster harvesting are set by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference. DHH has the authority to close these waters under LSA-R.S. 40:5, 3.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.