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For Release: Wednesday, May 9, 2018

DEC Temporarily Closes Areas in Town of Southampton, Suffolk County, for Harvest of Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

Closure Due to Discovery of a Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a temporary ban on the harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in western Shinnecock Bay, town of Southampton.

The temporary closure is effective immediately on May 9, 2018, due to the detection of a marine biotoxin in shellfish. The closure is implemented to protect public health. Filter-feeding shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels and scallops) can accumulate marine biotoxins, which can cause illness in shellfish consumers. Carnivorous gastropods (whelks, conchs, moon snails) feed on shellfish and can also accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health.

In Southampton, that portion of Shinnecock Bay lying west of Pine Neck Point (East Quogue), and east of the Post Lane Bridge (Quogue), is temporarily closed to the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods. Approximately 1,400 acres in western Shinnecock Bay are affected by the closure. This same area was closed last year on May 4.

This action was taken after DEC determined that mussels collected from biotoxin monitoring sites in the affected area tested positive for saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The mussel sample was collected and tested by DEC as part of the agency's marine biotoxin monitoring programs. DEC will continue to check for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at other monitoring locations 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 shellfishing areas may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closures.

Additionally, maps of the affected areas and information about these temporary shellfish closures are available on DEC's website. Information about marine biotoxins and paralytic shellfish poisoning is also available on DEC's website.

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