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For Release: Thursday, June 7, 2012

DEC Reopens Areas in the Town Of Huntington for the Harvest of Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

Reopening Follows Extensive Testing of Shellfish for Biotoxin

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the reopening of approximately 7500 acres of shellfish lands in the Town of Huntington for the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods. These areas were closed in May after DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources detected saxitoxin, a naturally occurring marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, in shellfish in Northport and Huntington Bays.

Effective at sunrise on Friday, June 8 the biotoxin closure for shellfish (clams, mussels and oysters) is rescinded in all of the normally certified shellfish lands in Huntington Bay, Coast Guard Cove, Lloyd Harbor, Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor and Northport Bay.

In addition, DEC is rescinding the ban on the taking of carnivorous gastropods (conchs, whelks, moon snails) in those areas, as well as from an additional 643 acres in Huntington Harbor, Centerport Harbor and Price Bend in Northport Bay.

However, the biotoxin closure remains in effect for carnivorous gastropods in Northport Harbor, Steers Canal and the normally uncertified portion of Northport Bay that is adjacent to Northport Harbor. DEC's testing of shellfish from monitoring stations in Northport Harbor continue to show elevated levels of biotoxin that could cause carnivorous gastropods in those areas to be harmful to consumers. Biotoxin is not destroyed by cooking.

The decision to reopen 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 200 shellfish samples for biotoxin since March 2012, including more than 85 shellfish samples from DEC's monitoring sites in the Huntington and Northport areas.

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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