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For Release: Monday, April 23, 2012

DEC Temporarily Closes Shellfishing Areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties

Shellfish Closures Follow Heavy Rainfall around Long Island

Several shellfish harvesting areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties have been designated as temporarily closed to shellfishing, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced. These temporary emergency closures are in response to the extraordinary volume of storm water runoff caused by the prolonged and heavy rainfall that affected much of Long Island from midday Sunday, April 22 into early Monday, April 23.

The following areas have been designated as uncertified effective today, April 23, and the harvest of shellfish is temporarily prohibited through Monday, April 30, 2012.

Town of North Hempstead: All of Hempstead Harbor.

Town of Oyster Bay (south shore): All shellfish lands in South Oyster Bay.

Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): All of Oyster Bay Harbor and the southern portion of Cold Spring Harbor.

Town of Huntington: All of Lloyd Harbor, Northport Bay, Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor and the southern portions of Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington Bay.

Towns of Babylon and Islip: All of Great South Bay lying west of the Robert Moses Causeway.

Town of Islip and Brookhaven (south shore): The northerly portion of Great South Bay, including the northerly portion of Nicoll Bay and Patchogue Bay lying north of the east-west buoy line; and, all of Bellport Bay.

Town of Brookhaven (north shore): All of Mount Sinai Harbor.

This precautionary action was taken to protect public health following the heavy rainfall event of the past 24 hours. 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. Rainfall was measured in excess of three (3) inches in all the affected areas.

DEC will re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of bacteriological analyses of water samples that will be collected this week. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closures. For more detailed descriptions of the closed areas, the public may call the Bureau of Marine Resources office during regular business hours at (631) 444-0475, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

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