Logo graphic for the Coastal Resources Division
Shellfish Water Quality

Shellfish Water Quality

For more than 20 years, Coastal Resources Division has monitored the water quality of Georgia's coastal waters for the safe recreational and commercial harvest of shellfish (oysters & clams). The Shellfish Sanitation Program is funded by the state of Georgia and consists of water quality monitoring, permitting shellfish harvesters, leasing state shellfish areas, sanitary surveys, and report writing.

Coastal Resources Division administers this program under the guidance of the United States Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) standards. The National Shellfish Sanitation Program's (NSSP) Manual of Operations (Part 1, Section C-3,a) requires that states show that shellfish harvest areas are "not subject to contamination from human and/or animal fecal matter in amounts that in the judgment of the SSCA [State Shellfish Control Authority] may present an actual or potential hazard to public health."

 The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Department of Agriculture together form the SCCA. Standards of the NSSP require the state to regularly collect water samples from each approved harvest area and to perform certain analytical procedures to ensure that the area is below the established fecal coliform threshold of 14mpn/100ml.

 Currently, CRD monitors 82 stations on the coast, concentrated around harvest areas, for fecal coliform bacteria. Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn, and Camden counties all have water quality sites in the adjacent water bodies designed to monitor and classify waters for potential shellfish harvest. These stations are monitored once every other month at random tide stages.

For information on Commercial Shellfishing, see the section in the Commercial Fishing category on this web site by clicking here.