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State bans summer oyster harvests
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BRUNSWICK (AP) — Georgia is banning commercial and recreational oyster harvesting during the summer months in an effort to reduce consumers’ risk of getting sick from eating raw shellfish.
The oyster ban takes effect Tuesday and lasts through Sept. 30.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is ordering the ban to comply with health regulations targeting a bacterium called Vp that occurs naturally in some shellfish.
The bacterium is most commonly found in oysters during the summer when waters are warmer.
Health officials say eating raw oysters is the most common way people ingest the bacteria, which can cause vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and fever.
Georgia also banned oyster harvesting last summer. The DNR says summertime accounts for about 2 percent of Georgia’s oyster harvest.
Summer is spawning season for oysters. The DNR said the combination of reproductive activity and warm water affects the quality of oyster flesh, making them less desirable as seafood during this time of year.
The period of May through September accounts for less than two percent of Georgia’s annual reported oyster harvest. Most recreational harvesters likewise refrain from harvesting oysters during the summer.
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