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For Release: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DEC Partially Rescinds Closure of Shellfishing Areas in the Town of Hempstead

Approximately 2,600 acres of shellfish lands in the Town of Hempstead on the south shore of Long Island are officially reopened, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These areas, located west of the Wantagh State Parkway, were closed on February 18, 2012 to protect the public health following a determination by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and DEC laboratory evaluators that water quality data provided to DEC by the Town of Hempstead's laboratory were not reliable. The FDA advised DEC that failure to close the areas promptly could effectively prevent the sale of all New York state shellfish products in interstate commerce.

The decision to partially reopen normally certified shellfish lands west of the Wantagh Parkway and south of the Loop Parkway was based on extensive testing of water samples collected from Hempstead Bay (East Bay) and processed by the DEC's microbiology laboratory. Approximately 4,500 acres of underwater shellfish lands in Hempstead Bay, west of the Wantagh State Parkway, remain closed.

DEC is continuing work with the Town of Hempstead to collect water samples from Hempstead Bay for testing in DEC's microbiology laboratory. When a sufficient number of water sampling runs have been conducted over a range of environmental conditions, the new water quality data will be analyzed to determine which of the remaining sections of Hempstead Bay may be re-opened to shellfishing.

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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