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For Release: Thursday, May 16, 2019

DEC Temporarily Closes Northport Harbor in Suffolk County for the Harvest of Carnivorous Gastropods

Closure Due to the Finding of a Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a temporary ban on the harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in Northport Harbor in the town of Huntington.

The temporary closure was effective on May 16, 2019, due to the detection of a marine biotoxin in shellfish. The closure is implemented to protect public health. Filter-feeding shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops) can accumulate marine biotoxins, which can cause illness in shellfish consumers. Carnivorous gastropods (whelks, conchs, moon snails) feed on shellfish and can accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health. Approximately 490 acres in the following area is affected:

Northport Harbor: All that area of Northport Harbor and tributaries lying southerly of a line extending northeasterly from the highest point of the green-domed cupola of the residence located at 24 Mariners Court, Centerport, on the northeastern shore of Little Neck Point, to the highest point of the gazebo located between the shoreline and the residence at 8 Hawkins Drive, Northport, located near the eastern shore of Northport Bay.

This action was taken after DEC determined that mussels collected from its biotoxin monitoring site in Northport Harbor tested positive for saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The mussel samples were collected and tested by DEC as part of its marine biotoxin monitoring program. DEC will continue to check for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at several other monitoring locations around Long Island and implement closures as necessary to protect public health.

On May 2, DEC closed 102 acres in Terry and Meetinghouse Creeks (tributaries to Flanders Bay) to the taking of carnivorous gastropods after biotoxin was detected in shellfish at a monitoring site inside Meetinghouse Creek. Northport Harbor, like the Terry Creek and Meetinghouse Creek areas that were closed May 2, are normally closed year-round for the harvest of shellfish.

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 shellfishing areas may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closures.

Additionally, maps of the affected areas and information about these temporary closures are available on DEC's website. Information about marine biotoxins and paralytic shellfish poisoning is also available on DEC website.

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