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For Release: Monday, October 29, 2012

DEC Temporarily Closes Shellfishing Areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties

Precautionary Closures Due to Heavy Rain and Coastal Flooding Forecast for Long Island

Shellfish harvesting areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties have been designated as uncertified (closed) for shellfish harvesting effective at sunrise on Monday October 29, 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These temporary closures are a precautionary action in anticipation of extremely heavy rainfall and stormwater runoff, as well as coastal flooding and power outages that are expected to occur when Hurricane Sandy impacts the area.

Effective at sunrise on Monday, October 29, 2012, and continuing through Monday, November 5, 2012, the following areas are designated as uncertified and the harvest of shellfish is temporarily prohibited through November 5, 2012:

  1. Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay (south shore): All of Hempstead Bay, East Bay and South Oyster Bay and their tributaries.
  2. Town of North Hempstead: All of Hempstead Harbor south of a line from Prospect Point to Matinecock Point.
  3. Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): All of Oyster Bay Harbor, all of Cold Spring Harbor south of a line from Rocky Point (Centre Island) to Whitewood Point on Lloyd Neck (Town of Huntington); and all of Hempstead Harbor south of a line from Prospect Point to Matinecock Point.
  4. Towns of Babylon and Islip: All of Great South Bay and its tributaries.
  5. Towns of Brookhaven (south shore): All of Great South Bay, including Nicoll Bay, Patchogue Bay, Bellport Bay and their tributaries; and, all of Narrow Bay, all of Moriches Bay and their tributaries.
  6. Town of Brookhaven (north shore): All of Stony Brook Harbor, Port Jefferson Harbor and Mount Sinai Harbor.
  7. Town of Huntington: All of Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor, Centerport Harbor, Lloyd Harbor; and, all of Huntington Bay south of a line extending from Lloyd Point to Eatons Neck; AND, all of Cold Spring Harbor south of a line extending from Rocky Point, on Centre Island (Town of Oyster Bay), to Whitewood Point on Lloyd Neck.
  8. Town of Smithtown: All of Stony Brook Harbor and its tributaries.
  9. Town of Riverhead: All of Flanders Bay and its tributaries.
  10. Town of Southampton: All of Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, North Sea Harbor, Noyack Bay, Sag Harbor Shelter Island Sound, Moriches Bay, Quantuck Bay, Quantuck Canal and Shinnecock Bay and all other creeks, bay, harbors, coves and tributaries within the Town of Southampton.
  11. Town of East Hampton: All of Sag Harbor, Northwest Harbor, Three Mile Harbor, Accabonac Harbor, Napeague Bay, Napeague Harbor, Lake Montauk and all other creeks, bay, harbors, coves and tributaries within the Town of East Hampton.
  12. Town of Shelter Island: All of Shelter Island Sound, Coecles Harbor, Dering Harbor, West Neck Harbor, Northwest Harbor and all other creeks, bay, harbors, coves and tributaries within the Town of Shelter Island.
  13. Town of Southold: All of Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, Southold Bay, Cutchogue Harbor, Pipes Cove, Orient Harbor, Hallock (Long Beach) Bay, Shelter Island Sound; Hay Harbor, West Harbor and East Harbor on Fishers Island; and all other creeks, bay, harbors, coves and tributaries within the Town of Southold.

This precautionary action was taken to protect the public health. Stormwater runoff caused by heavy rainfall carries bacteria and other pathogens into adjacent surface waters. In addition, the prolonged strong easterly winds and the full moon will bring an increased risk of coastal flooding that may inundate low-lying septic systems and wastewater treatment systems to be overwhelmed. When water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays is adversely affected, shellfish in those areas have an increased potential to be hazardous for use as food.

The normally certified areas in Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Gardiners Bay and the Atlantic Ocean that are minimally affected by stormwater runoff remain open for harvesting.

DEC will re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of water quality testing samples that will be collected following the storm when it is safe to collect samples. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closures. If you would like a more detailed description of the closed areas please call the office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0475. Additionally, information about temporary closures is available on DEC's website.

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