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For Release: Friday, May 25, 2012

DEC Re-Opens Sag Harbor Cove for Harvest of Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

Re-opening Follows Extensive Testing of Shellfish for Biotoxins

Approximately 490 acres of shellfish lands in Sag Harbor Cove, Town of Southampton, is re-opening for the harvest of shellfish, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These areas were closed on April 26, after DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources detected saxitoxin, a naturally occurring marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, in shellfish in Sag Harbor Cove.

Effective at sunrise on Friday, May 25 the biotoxin closure for shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters) is rescinded in all of the normally certified shellfish lands in Sag Harbor Cove, including upper Sag Harbor Cove. The biotoxin closure for carnivorous gastropods (conch, whelks, moon snails, etc.) is also rescinded for all of Sag Harbor Cove, including upper Sag Harbor Cove.

In addition, the DEC is rescinding the prohibition against taking carnivorous gastropods in Shinnecock Bay. Approximately 3,900 acres of underwater lands in western Shinnecock Bay was closed to the harvest of carnivorous gastropods on April 10. Effective at sunrise on Friday, May 25, the taking of carnivorous gastropods is permitted in all of Shinnecock Bay.

The decision to re-open these areas was based on the results of the DEC's testing of shellfish samples and is consistent with the requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. DEC's microbiology laboratory has tested more than 150 shellfish samples for biotoxin since March 2012.

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

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