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For Release: Thursday, May 9, 2013

DEC Temporarily Closes Areas in the Towns of Southampton and Huntington, Suffolk County

for the Harvest of Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

Closure Follows Finding of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in particular areas in the Towns of Southampton and Huntington have been temporarily closed, effective at sunrise on Friday, May 10, 2013, due to the detection of a marine biotoxin. The closure is implemented to protect public health.

The closure impacts approximately 490 acres in the Town of Southampton, covering all the underwater lands in Sag Harbor Cove and Upper Sag Harbor Cove and their tributaries lying westerly of the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge (Route 114 Bridge). The closure also impacts approximately 887 acres in the Town of Huntington, covering all the normally uncertified areas of Northport Harbor, Northport Bay, Steers Canal and Huntington Harbor. All harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in these lands is prohibited until further notice in an effort to protect public health. Maps showing the affected Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closures areas are available on DEC's website.

This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish collected from monitoring sites in Sag Harbor Cove, Huntington Harbor and Northport Harbor tested positive for saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The samples were tested as part of DEC's marine biotoxin monitoring program. Carnivorous gastropods (whelks, conchs, moon snails) feed on shellfish and may accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health.

DEC will continue to monitor for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at 18 monitoring locations around Long Island and implement closures as necessary to protect public health.

DEC will re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of laboratory analyses that will be conducted over the next few weeks. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of temporarily closed shellfish areas may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closure.

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