For Release: Friday, August 19, 2011
DEC Reopens Shellfishing Areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties
Shellfish Closures Followed Record Setting Rainfall around Long Island
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the reopening of various shellfish harvesting areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. DEC closed 36 coves, harbors and bays earlier in the week following record setting rainfall. The closures were implemented on Monday and Tuesday as a precautionary measure to protect shellfish consumers. Extraordinary volumes of stormwater runoff carry bacteria and viruses into the creeks, coves, harbors and bays and may cause shellfish in the affected areas to be hazardous for use as food.
The majority of areas that were closed have been tested and are now reopened or will reopen for harvest on Saturday, August 20. A few areas will remain closed into early next week.
The following harbors and bays have been reopened to shellfishing as of August 19.
- Town of Oyster Bay (south shore): The normally certified shellfishing areas in South Oyster Bay.
- Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): The normally certified shellfishing areas in Oyster Bay Harbor and the southern portion of Cold Spring Harbor.
- Towns of Babylon and Islip: The normally certified shellfishing areas in Great South Bay.
- Town of Brookhaven (south shore): The normally certified shellfishing areas in Great South Bay, including the normally certified areas in Nicoll Bay, Patchogue Bay and Bellport Bay and the normally certified areas in Moriches Bay.
- Town of Brookhaven (north shore): The normally certified shellfish areas in Stony Brook Harbor, Port Jefferson Harbor and Mount Sinai Harbor.
- Town of Huntington: The normally certified shellfish areas in Lloyd Harbor, Northport Bay, Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor, Huntington Bay and Cold Spring Harbor.
- Town of Smithtown: The normally certified shellfish areas in Stony Brook Harbor.
- Town of Southampton: The normally certified shellfishing areas in Moriches Bay.
The following areas will reopen to shellfishing at sunrise on Saturday, August 20:
- Town of Riverhead: The normally certified shellfishing areas in Flanders Bay.
- Town of Southampton: The normally certified shellfishing areas in and Shinnecock Bay and Flanders Bay; and, the normally certified areas in the creeks, ponds and harbors along the north shore of the Town of Southampton, including Red Creek Pond, Squire Pond, Cold Spring Pond, North Sea Harbor, Noyac Creek and, the normally certified portions of Sag Harbor.
- Town of East Hampton: The normally certified shellfish lands in Montauk Lake (Harbor).
DEC re-opened these areas as soon as possible based on the results of bacteriological analyses of water samples that the Bureau of Marine Resources collected, which demonstrated that water quality is suitable for the harvest of shellfish for human consumption.
DEC's Shellfish Program was able to collect and test representative samples from nearly all the areas that were closed. However, the initial samples from Hempstead Bay (south shore of Nassau County) and Hempstead Harbor (north shore of Nassau County) indicated that water quality was not suitable for shellfish harvesting and those areas remain closed through at least Monday, August 22. Fishers Island has not been sampled due to its remote location. The Town of Hempstead collects and tests samples from Hempstead Bay. DEC expects all the testing to be completed over the weekend.
During temporary shellfish closures, a recorded message advising harvesters and others of the status of shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. For detailed descriptions of the closed areas please call DEC's East Setauket office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0475 or visit the Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closures page on the DEC website at.