For Release: Thursday, May 3, 2012
DEC Temporarily Closes Areas in Town of Huntington, Suffolk County
for the Harvest of Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods
Closures Follow Finding of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish
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 Huntington have been temporarily closed, effective immediately, due to the detection of a naturally occurring marine biotoxin.
The closure impacts approximately 2,200 acres in the Town of Huntington, including all the underwater lands in Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor and Northport Bay that lie east of a line from the south end of East Beach (Sand City Beach) to the Town of Huntington's beach pavilion at Crescent Beach. All harvesting of shellfish (clams, oysters and mussels) and carnivorous gastropods (conchs, whelks, moon snails, etc.) in these lands is prohibited until further notice in an effort to protect public health. A map showing the Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closures will be available on the DEC website.
This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish samples collected from monitoring sites in Northport Bay 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.
On April 10, 2012, DEC closed approximately 3900 acres for the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in western Shinnecock Bay (Town of Southampton) and 30 acres in Meetinghouse Creek (Town of Riverhead) to the harvest of carnivorous gastropods. Meetinghouse Creek is closed to the harvest of shellfish year round.
On April 12, DEC closed the normally uncertified shellfish lands in Northport Harbor and Steers Canal to the harvest of carnivorous gastropods which feed on shellfish and may also accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health.
On April 26, 2012, DEC closed approximately 490 acres of underwater lands in Sag Harbor Cove and Upper Sag Harbor Cove (Town of Southampton) to the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods. These closures remain in effect.
DEC will continue to monitor for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at 18 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.