The Advocate reported today, “oyster bed closures “safety net.”

The closure of some oyster harvesting grounds in southwest Louisiana this week highlights how pollution can impact the state’s fishing industry. The state Department of Health and Hospitals halted oyster harvesting in lower Calcasieu Lake on Thursday on the suspicion that oysters from the area might have been linked to a norovirus outbreak in North Carolina.

Public health officials in Raleigh, N.C., reported that about 280 people became sick last month after dining at an oyster bar that served oysters from the area in question.

Norovirus is a name applied to a group of highly contagious and fairly common illnesses that cause flu-like symptoms for one to two days.

It can find its way into oysters by way of sewage run-off.

Norovirus and other food-borne illnesses linked to run-off are such a concern that Louisiana has a system in place that calls for the precautionary closure of oyster harvesting in certain areas based on the conditions and times of year that can be problematic.