Hours before larger part of Hurricane Dorian swirls up the Georgia coast, a reminder of life as normal — the state Department of Natural Resources exercising its regulatory authority over fishing seasons. Late Tuesday night, DNR issued an order signed by Commissioner Mark Williams putting a temporary end to the 2019 shellfish harvest.
The closure, which occurred at 6 a.m. and will last indefinitely, came because of the amount of rainfall expected with the hurricane.
“This closure is precautionary and made in the interest of protecting public health,” according to a statement by the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division. “Shellfish harvest will reopen after DNR has conducted water quality and shellfish meat samples and ensured bacterial thresholds are safe for human consumption.
“Predicted impacts from Hurricane Doran include heavy rains and larger than normal tidal surges that may result in elevated bacterial levels from run off into the growing areas resulting in potential contamination of shellfish beds. This closure includes clams and any other bivalve molluscan shellfish from all Georgia waters at this time.”
For its part, CRD — whose headquarters are surrounded by marsh near the edge of the Brunswick peninsula — evacuated Brunswick Tuesday and set up its critical incident command post in Metter, which is roughly 64 miles northwest of Savannah off I-16.