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State Suspends Harvest of Shellfish From Northern Barnegat Bay

Proposed closure of Barnegat Bay waters for shellfishing. (Credit: NJDEP)

Proposed closure of Barnegat Bay waters for shellfishing. (Credit: NJDEP)

New Jersey officials announced Sunday that shellfishing from a portion of Barnegat Bay – mainly in and around Middle Sedge Island – has been suspended.

The decision to suspend shellfishing in the area came after water quality testing that was completed over the past three to four years found the water consistently tested over the legal limit for fecal coliform bacteria, a public notice put out by the state said.

Middle Sedge Island is located in Barnegat Bay just south of the Brick-Toms River border, though the island is legally considered part of Lavallette. One home is built on the island, which is only accessible by boat.

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Waters north of the Middle Sedge Island area, including in Brick Township, remain open to shellfishing seasonally from November through April. Altogether, 128.7 acres were closed off in the latest announcement.

Once abundant grounds for clam and oyster fishermen, Brick Township’s waters today are primarily a mix of closed areas, seasonally open areas and “special restricted” areas, meaning shellfishing for human consumption is only allowed with a special permit. For example, the Metedeconk River is considered closed, or “condemned,” but the area of the bay north of the Mantoloking Bridge is open seasonally.