The Department of Health will REOPEN the remaining oyster harvest areas that were closed Sunday, Oct. 10, 2004.  LDH closed, as a precautionary measure, state waters from the Atchafalaya River to the Louisiana-Mississippi state line in the wake of flooding caused by rainfall from Tropical Storm Matthew.  After more than a week of bacterial testing, the remaining areas outlined below will reopen one-half hour prior to official sunrise, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004.

“We are glad that the state has worked in such a timely yet thorough manner to perform the appropriate water quality tests, assuring oyster harvesters and the oyster-eating public that only fresh, clean oysters are harvested,” said Mike Voisin, chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

This action rescinds the closure order, allowing oystermen to resume operations in the shellfish growing area that are known as Harvest Areas 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24.  Other oyster harvesting areas closed as a result of Tropical Storm Matthew were reopened as of Friday, Oct. 15.

“Since Tropical Storm Matthew, staff with DHH’s Office of Public Health have been conducting water sampling in shellfish growing areas. These beds that were closed after the storms have only been reopened after meeting the necessary water quality criteria set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program,” said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer.

Water standards for oyster harvesting areas are set by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference and can be found at  LDH has the authority to open and close these waters under LSA-R.S. 40:5,3.