No Shellfish on Jersey Shore This Weekend, Thanks to Irene

Friday, Sep 2, 2011  |  Updated 8:30 AM EDT
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Shellfish lovers may be out of luck over the Labor Day holiday weekend because New Jersey's shellfish beds remain closed in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

The state Environmental Protection Department says tests show bacteria levels exceeded federal safety guidelines in parts of the more than 720,000 acres where New Jersey fishermen harvest clams, oysters and muscles.

Runoff from the hurricane is blamed for putting pollutants into the bays and streams.

The DEP will continue testing the beds. At least seven days must pass once the water meets federal standards before harvesting can resume.

Those who earn their living along the shore are hoping Irene won't ruin the entire Labor Day weekend, though.

Gov. Chris Christie encouraged people to head to the shore days after he told them to "get the hell" off the beach as Irene approached.

AAA Mid-Atlantic had predicted more than 950,000 New Jersey residents would travel 50 miles or more from home for the holiday. That's 3 percent fewer than 2010.

Most New Jersey beaches weathered the storm. Portions of the Spring Lake boardwalk were damaged and the southern end of Belmar's beachfront sustained flood damage.

Atlantic City casinos are offering special promotions and hotel packages to lure visitors.

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