Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) closed a large portion of shellfish harvesting areas on the coasts of eastern New Brunswick, northern Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island because of the heavy rainfall that came with Hurricane Dorian last weekend.
The department says the shut down was prompted by a request from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) following Dorian.
Pollution in areas where shellfish are harvested could be come from various sources, including water from wastewater treatment and collection systems, industrial outfalls, natural run-off from land or fecal matter from animals.
In New Brunswick, the shut down affects all islands in the northeast and east of the province, from a point near Maisonnette to the Nova Scotia border.
Nova Scotia is seeing the shut down affecting all islands in the Northumberland Strait, from Lewis Head near the mouth of the Philip River to Cape John.
The closures on PEI includes all islands in Prince County, as well as those in the Northumberland Strait from the Prince County border at Wrights Point near Victoria to Duchess Point in Charlottetown.
The closures are meant to minimize health risks related to the consumption of contaminated bivalve shellfish like mussels, oysters and clams. Eating contaminated shellfish can lead to serious illness or death, and cooking them doesn’t destroy the toxins, the department said.
DFO says the closure usually takes at least seven days, but testing will need to be done before an area reopens. The reopening will only happen once DFO gets the green light to do so from ECCC or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.