After consulting with the federal Food and Drug Administration officials, the Department of Public Health (DPH) had requested the Division of Marine Fisheries close certain waters of Duxbury, Plymouth, Kingston and Marshfield (CCB:42, CCB:43, and CCB:45-CCB:47) to commercial harvest of oysters due to an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp). This closure is a first of its kind for the Commonwealth. This closure has resulted despite DMF’s, DPH’s, and industry’s collective efforts over the past two years to devise strategies to prevent Vp outbreaks by mandating through permit conditions a number of safeguards that strive to minimize the potential for Vp growth in oysters.

This decision was based on findings of illnesses associated with the consumption of cultured oysters from this embayment. DPH is currently investigating many (more than 40) Vp cases this summer and many are not attributed to Massachusetts growing areas. However some cases have been definitively attributed to this growing area so this action is being taken. Similar Vp closures have been occurring in other northeast states. Connecticut and New York have encountered some similar outbreaks in discrete growing areas.

Because there is no wild harvest in this area, this action affects only the aquaculturists in this embayment. There are three grant holders in Kingston, six in Plymouth, and 30 in Duxbury. DPH will be requiring all oysters harvested from this area that are already in commerce to be recalled. Aquaculturists who have their oysters returned to them from dealers may place them back on their grants under municipal officials’ oversight.

The closure will be in effect today, August 30th until further notice. Notices are being e-mailed to town officials and aquaculturists are being notified.  DMF and DPH will work with FDA to determine opening criteria and timing.