VARNAMTOWN, NC (Coastal Online Review) — Shellfish waters in a Brunswick County river popular for oystering and clamming have been closed indefinitely.
The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, or DMF, recently announced the closure of 255 shellfish acres in Lockwood Folly River after water sample tests show fecal coliform bacteria levels exceed the national standards for safe shellfish harvest.
This latest closure, following one in 2017, covers about 3,759 acres of the river’s 4,417-acre growing area, which includes portions of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and inlet.
“Most of the river proper is closed in the Lockwood Folly River,” said Shannon Jenkins, DMF’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section chief. “We continue to sample and will continue to sample in the hopes that conditions will change.”
A majority of shellfish waters in the nearly 14-mile tidal river are classified as conditionally approved closed, which means growing areas cannot be harvested throughout the year.
“We can reopen those temporarily in conditions when it’s really dry,” Jenkins said.