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For Release: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DEC Expands Temporary Closure of Shellfishing Areas in Town of Huntington, Suffolk County

Closures Follow Finding of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish in Additional Areas

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that it has temporarily closed additional shellfish lands in the Town of Huntington due to the detection of a marine biotoxin. 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.

This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish samples collected from monitoring stations in Huntington Bay and 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.

This larger closure impacts approximately 7,500 acres, covering all the shellfish lands in Lloyd Harbor, Coast Guard Cove and Huntington Bay lying southerly of a line extending northeasterly from Lloyd Neck Point to Eatons Neck Point. The normally uncertified shellfish lands in Huntington Harbor are also closed for the harvest of carnivorous gastropods.

On April 10, 2012, DEC closed 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 10, 2012, DEC also closed approximately 3,900 acres in western Shinnecock Bay (Town of Southampton) to the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods. However, on May 11, 2012, nearly 3,600 acres of underwater lands in Shinnecock Bay were re-opened. Approximately 317 acres remain closed in the area outside Weesuck Creek.

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.

On May 2, 2012, DEC closed 2,200 acres of underwater lands in Northport Bay, Centerport Harbor and Duck Island Harbor for the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods.

DEC will reopen 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 taped message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closure. Maps and more information about current closures will also be available on the DEC website.

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