The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), and Rhode Island of Environmental Management (DEM) are announcing that the Potter Pond shellfish growing area (Growing Area 10PP [GA10PP]) is reopened for shellfish harvesting. Potter Pond is located in South Kingstown.
Potter Pond had been closed to shellfish harvesting due to bacterial contamination that was detected in early September 2021. A RIDOH investigation indicated that eight people became ill after consuming raw shellfish harvested from Potter Pond and that the illnesses were due to Campylobacter bacterial contamination. The Campylobacter contamination has been linked to the presence of flocks of birds aggregating near shellfish growing areas.
RIDOH, CRMC, and DEM have worked with Potter Pond shellfish growers to mitigate the presence of birds near shellfish growing areas in Potter Pond. Over the past several weeks regular analysis of shellfish meats and water samples have verified that the bacteria levels in shellfish harvested from Potter Pond have returned to levels that are safe for harvest and consumption of shellfish.
Rhode Island shellfish are much sought-after seafood because of a long history of delivering a high-quality product. This is achieved by diligent monitoring of shellfish harvesting waters and reported illnesses; protecting public health with a high level of oversight when conditions indicate a change in water quality either from natural sources such as algae blooms; or by the quick response to emergency conditions. DEM, RIDOH, and CRMC, along with industry partners, collaborate to ensure that shellfish grown and harvested from Rhode Island waters continues to be a quality, safe seafood product to be enjoyed by all consumers.
For more information on the shellfish harvest closures and related information, see http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/shellfish/. For information on emergency and conditional area water quality related shellfish closures, call DEM's 24-hour shell fishing hotline at 401-222-2900, visit www.dem.ri.gov/shellfish, or sign up for the Office of Water Resources' listserv here: RishellfishOWRfirstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the RIDOH Shellfish Program, please see https://health.ri.gov/programs/detail.php?pgm_id=164. For more information on CMRC Aquaculture resources, please visit http://www.crmc.ri.gov/aboutcrmc.html.