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For Release: Friday, May 11, 2012

DEC Reopens Shellfishing Areas in Shinnecock Bay

Reopening Follows Extensive Testing of Shellfish for Biotoxin

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reopened approximately 3,600 acres of shellfish lands in the Town of Southampton. These areas were closed on April 10, after DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources detected saxitoxin, a naturally occurring marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, in shellfish in Shinnecock Bay.

Effective at noon on Friday, May 11, the biotoxin closures for shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters) was rescinded in most of the normally certified shellfish lands in western Shinnecock Bay. Approximately 315 acres outside the mouth of Weesuck Creek will remain closed for the harvest of shellfish.

The decision to reopen these areas was based on the results of extensive testing of shellfish samples from western Shinnecock Bay. DEC's microbiology laboratory has tested more than 140 shellfish samples for biotoxin since March, with 28 of these samples collected from Shinnecock Bay.

The prohibition on the taking of carnivorous gastropods (conch, whelk and other marine snails) that was implemented on April 10 remains in effect for all of western Shinnecock Bay lying west of the southbound lanes of the Ponquogue Bridge.

For more information on temporary emergency shellfish closures and maps of the affected areas, visit the DEC website. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of temporary shellfish closures may also be heard by calling (631) 444-0480.

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