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For Release: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DEC Temporarily Closes Areas in The Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County for the Harvest of Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

Closure Due to the Finding of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in particular areas in the Town of Riverhead have been temporarily closed, effective immediately, due to the detection of a marine biotoxin. The closure is implemented to protect public health.

The closure impacts approximately 100 acres in the Town of Riverhead, covering all the underwater lands in Terry Creek and Meetinghouse Creek, tributaries of Flanders Bay. All harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in these lands is prohibited until further notice in an effort to protect public health. Maps showing the affected areas will be available on DEC's website.

This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish collected from monitoring sites in Meetinghouse Creek tested positive for saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The samples were tested as part of DEC's marine biotoxin monitoring program. Carnivorous gastropods (whelks, conchs, moon snails) feed on shellfish and may accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health.

DEC will continue to monitor for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at 13 monitoring locations around Long Island and implement closures as necessary to protect public health.

DEC will re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of laboratory analyses that will be conducted over the next few weeks. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of temporarily closed shellfish areas may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closure.

Additionally, information about temporary closures is available on DEC's website.

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