For Release: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
DEC Announces Rulemaking to Establish Authorization to Close Areas to Carnivorous Gastropod Fishing In Biotoxin Impacted Areas
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted regulations authorizing DEC Commissioner Joe Martens or his designee to close commercial and recreational carnivorous gastropod fisheries in areas that have been closed to shellfish harvest due to biotoxins. The rulemaking will become effective when it appears in the State Register on August 17, 2011, issue 33.
This rule will prevent the harvest, sale and consumption of marine gastropods that may be unsafe for human consumption. The harvest restrictions are for the protection of public health, to protect consumers from paralytic shellfish poisoning and other maladies associated with toxic algae blooms.
The biotoxin, saxitoxin has been found in areas in the Marine District of New York. Saxitoxin is a potent neurotoxin, or nervous system poison, that at elevated levels is dangerous to human health. Saxitoxin is known to cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans, which affects the nervous system and can lead to muscles becoming paralyzed. In severe cases, paralytic shellfish poisoning can result in respiratory failure and death. Carnivorous gastropods prey on bivalve shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops) and can concentrate the marine biotoxins that bivalve shellfish take in through filter feeding.
For additional information on Part 50: Miscellaneous Marine Species, visit the DEC website.