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For Release: Thursday, April 26, 2012

DEC Temporarily Closes Shellfishing Areas In Town Of Southampton, Suffolk County

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

The closure impacts approximately 490 acres in the Town of Southampton, covering all the underwater lands in Sag Harbor Cove and Upper Sag Harbor Cove and their tributaries lying westerly of the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge (Route 114 bridge). All harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in these lands is prohibited until further notice in an effort to protect public health. A map showing the affected areas will be available on DEC's website.

This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish collected from a monitoring site in Sag Harbor Cove 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. Carnivorous gastropods (whelks, conchs, moon snails) feed on shellfish and may accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health.

Earlier in April, DEC closed areas in western Shinnecock Bay. Additionally, the normally uncertified areas in Northport Harbor and adjacent area of Northport Bay were closed to the harvest of carnivorous gastropods. Those areas remain closed. 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 that will be conducted 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. Updates on closures can also be viewed on DEC's website.

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