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For Release: Friday, November 1, 2013

DEC Changes Designations of Shellfishing Areas for 3,690 Acres of Long Island Waters to Protect Public Health

Potentially Harmful Levels of Coliform Bacteria Found During Routine Water Quality Monitoring

Citing recent bacteriological surveys, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced emergency regulations to change the designation of underwater shellfish lands in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Shellfish harvesting will be closed or limited in approximately 2,800 acres of bays and harbors in Hempstead, Brookhaven, Islip, Smithtown, Huntington, Southampton, Southold and East Hampton. DEC's analyses of water quality in these areas demonstrated increased levels of fecal coliform bacteria and an increased potential for shellfish harvested from these areas to cause human illness if consumed.

DEC's emergency regulations will change the designation of the affected shellfish areas to "uncertified" (closed) for the harvest of shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops) either year-round or seasonally. In addition to these closures, approximately 900 acres of shellfish lands in Hempstead Bay will be reclassified as certified and open for the harvest of shellfish. The reclassification of shellfish lands in Hempstead Bay will end the 18 month temporary emergency closure that was implemented in February 2012 based on the recommendation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These changes, effective immediately, are described below:

Town of Hempstead: In Hempstead Bay, approximately 900 acres shall be reclassified as certified (open) and 1,089 acres will be reclassified as uncertified (closed) for the harvest of shellfish year-round.

In the Towns of Islip and Brookhaven (south shore): In Nicoll Bay, approximately 1,204 acres shall be designated as uncertified for the harvest of shellfish year-round.

In Moriches Bay, approximately 17 acres shall be designated as seasonally uncertified for the harvest of shellfish during the period May 15 to September 30.

In the Towns of Brookhaven and Smithtown (north shore): In Stony Brook Harbor, approximately 14 acres shall be designated as uncertified year-round and approximately 30 acres shall be designated seasonally uncertified from May 1 through October 31.

In Smithtown Bay, approximately 195 acres shall be designated as seasonally uncertified from May 1 through October 31.

In the Town of Huntington: In Lloyd Harbor, approximately 170 acres shall be designated as seasonally uncertified from May 1 through October 31.

In the Town of Southampton: In Cold Spring Pond, approximately 15 acres shall be designated as seasonally uncertified to the harvest of shellfish during the period May 1 to November 30.

In Shinnecock Bay, approximately 10 acres shall be designated as uncertified to the harvest of shellfish year-round.

In the Town of East Hampton: In Acabonac Harbor, approximately 14 acres shall be designated as seasonally uncertified to the harvest of shellfish during the period May 1 through November 30.

In Three Mile Harbor (Hands Creek), approximately 15 acres shall be designated as uncertified to the harvest of shellfish year-round.

In the Town of Southold: In Gull Pond, approximately 3 acres shall be designated as uncertified to the harvest of shellfish.

In Deep Hole Creek (Great Peconic Bay), approximately 75 acres shall be designated as seasonally uncertified to the harvest of shellfish during the period May 1 through November 30.

DEC will continue to monitor water quality throughout New York's marine region as part of its participation in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. As conditions warrant, DEC will make changes to the certification of shellfish lands.

For more information about shellfish safety and New York's role in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, go to DEC's website. The emergency regulations adopting the changes announced today are effective immediately and will be published in the November 20, 2013, edition of the New York State Register. Text descriptions are available on DEC's website. Additional information may also be obtained by contacting DEC's Shellfisheries office at (631) 444-0475.

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