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For Release: Thursday, April 5, 2012

DEC Temporarily Closes Shellfishing Areas in Town of Southold, Suffolk County

Shellfish Closures Follow Finding of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that shellfish harvesting in particular areas in the Town of Southold have been temporarily closed, effective immediately, due to the detection of a marine biotoxin.

The closure impacts approximately 92 acres in Mattituck Creek and Mattituck Inlet, including all sides of the rock jetties which protect the inlet. Clams, mussels and oysters are harvested commercially and recreationally in these areas.

All shellfish harvesting in these lands is prohibited until further notice in an effort to protect public health. A map showing the affected areas is available on DEC's website.

The seasonally certified area (40 acres) and conditionally certified area (52 acres) in Mattituck Creek and Mattituck Inlet were scheduled to close to shellfishing on April 16.

This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish samples collected from a monitoring site in Mattituck 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.

This is the first biotoxin closure of Mattituck Creek and Mattituck Inlet since DEC first detected biotoxins in shellfish and closed areas in the Northport/Huntington bay complex in 2006. This closure in April marks the earliest biotoxin closure by more than one month. Closures in previous years typically have been implemented in early to mid May.

DEC will continue to monitor for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at 18 other 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 of shellfish and water samples that will be collected 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.

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