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For Release: Thursday, April 13, 2023

DEC Announces Temporary Harvest Closure for Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

Closures Affect Towns of Riverhead and Southampton after Discovery of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

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

This action was taken to protect public health after DEC determined mussels collected as part of the Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program from monitoring sites in Meetinghouse Creek and Shinnecock Bay tested positive for saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), and exceeded levels that require closures. DEC will continue to monitor for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish at several monitoring locations around Long Island and implement closures as necessary.

The temporary closure is effective immediately. 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 accumulate biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to human health.

Approximately 102 acres in Flanders Bay and 1,429 acres in Shinnecock Bay in the following areas are affected:

Town of Riverhead: Meetinghouse and Terry creeks, both tributaries of Flanders Bay, in their entirety are temporarily closed to the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods.

Town of Southampton: The portion of Shinnecock Bay lying east of the Post Lane Bridge (Quogue) and lying west of a line extending southerly from the southernmost point of land at Pine Neck Point (East Quogue) to the northern terminus of Triton Lane, located on the barrier beach south of Pine Neck Point, is temporarily closed to the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods.

In May 2019, DEC closed the areas in Terry and Meetinghouse creeks to shellfish and carnivorous gastropods harvest and an additional 490 acres in Northport Harbor. DEC previously implemented a marine biotoxin closure in the same area of Western Shinnecock Bay in May 2018.

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

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    123 Kings Park Blvd. (Nissequogue River State Park)
    Kings Park, NY 11754
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