As of Saturday October 5, the Division of Marine Fisheries re-opened oyster fisheries in Back River, Bluefish River, Duxbury Bay, Kingston Bay, and Plymouth Harbor in the towns of Duxbury, Kingston, Marshfield and Plymouth, as well as Katama Bay in the town of Edgartown. The beds were closed for approximately one month following a confirmed outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus “Vibrio” tied to oysters harvested from the areas. The beds in Duxbury, Kingston, Marshfield and Plymouth were previously closed on August 30 and the area of Katama Bay in Edgartown was closed on September 9. DPH also recalled product that had been distributed for wholesale and retail sales.
The decision to re-open all of the growing areas was made in consultation with the MA Department of Public Health after reviewing data showing no new human cases of Vibrio illness since the closure, along with declining weekly average water temperatures. Colder water temperatures are less supportive of the growth of the bacteria that causes Vibrio illness in humans.
A statewide Vibrio Control Plan has been in effect since May 2013 and is in effect through October 20. Harvesters must tag all bags or containers of oysters with the time of harvest; maintain a harvest logbook; adequately shade their oysters during harvest and transportation; and adequately ice their oyster harvest upon landing. Additionally, certain harvester activities related to the culturing and culling of oysters are subject to Vp related restrictions. Primary buyers must implement a HACCP control plan that identifies Vp as a significant hazard; ensure that oysters are chilled to an internal temperature of ≤ 50°F within 10 hours to time of harvest; maintain a ambient air temperature of 45°F; and keep receiving records of pertinent harvester information.
More information on the re-opening can be found at:
Information on Vibrio parahaemolyticus is available on the CDC website, at: