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For Release: Friday, November 2, 2012

DEC Extends Closures of Shellfishing Areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties

Closures Due to Flooding of Sewage Treatment Facilities and Septic Systems

The closures of shellfish harvesting areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties has been extended, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These temporary closures are necessary to protect public health due to the coastal flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. DEC had initially implemented the shellfishing closures on Monday, October 29.

Effective at sunrise on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the following areas are designated as uncertified and the harvest of shellfish, including bay scallops, is temporarily prohibited through November 13, 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, bays, 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, bays, 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, bays, 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, bays, harbors, coves and tributaries within the Town of Southold.

Although the bay scallop season opens in New York State waters on Monday, November 5, the harvest of bay scallops is also prohibited in the areas affected by the emergency closures described above.

This action was taken to protect the public health. The prolonged strong easterly winds, full moon and storm surge caused significant coastal flooding that inundated septic systems and wastewater treatment systems in low lying areas. Many sewage treatment plants experienced temporary bypasses and some failed completely causing less than fully treated sewage to be discharged to shellfishing areas. When water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays is adversely affected by such discharges, shellfish in those areas have an increased potential to be hazardous for use as food. Additionally, DEC is aware that heating oil tanks for homes and businesses in some of the flooded areas were dislodged, causing oil to leak into marine waters potentially contaminating shellfish.

The normally certified (open) areas in the Atlantic Ocean, Block Island Sound, Gardiners Bay and Long Island Sound (east of Matinecock Point) 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 emergency shellfish closures is available on DEC's website.

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