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Conditional Shellfish Harvesting Programs

Conditional harvesting programs allow shellfish diggers to take shellfish from areas that are usually classified as uncertified. Under certain conditions water quality predictably improves to the point where normally uncertified waters meet the standards for certified shellfishing areas. Conditional programs are typically operated during the colder months of the year, usually from mid-December through mid-April, when bacteria levels in the water are lower and there is less rainfall related runoff.

Conditional programs are operated by the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) at the request of and in cooperation with towns in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The towns manage the programs, provide enforcement and assist with the collection of water samples, which are examined in the BMR's FDA approved microbiology laboratory. BMR's Shellfisheries Section evaluates the water quality of each requested area; determines appropriate conditions and rainfall thresholds; and continues to monitor water quality while the area is open for harvesting.

Prior to the start of each program, BMR sends out "Notices to Harvesters" to advise diggers of the details of their local programs and how to participate.

More about Conditional Shellfish Harvesting Programs:

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