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For Release: Thursday, April 20, 2023

DEC Announces Additional Temporary Harvest Closures for Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropods

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

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced additional temporary shellfish and carnivorous gastropods harvest closures from Flanders Bay in the towns of Riverhead and Southampton, as well as, Town and Jockey Creeks in the town of Southold.

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 and Jockey Creeks 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.

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 a total of 1,495 acres in Flanders Bay and 92 acres in Town and Jockey Creeks in the following areas are affected:

Towns of Riverhead and Southampton: All that area of Flanders Bay and Reeves Bay, including their tributaries, lying westerly of a line extending northeasterly from the northernmost point of land at Goose Creek Point to the southernmost point of land at Simmons Point. This area is currently uncertified (closed) to the harvest of shellfish for use as food.

Town of Southold: All that area of Town and Jockey Creeks (both tributaries of Southold Bay) in their entirety.

This temporary closure is effective immediately. DEC previously announced the temporary closures in Terry Creek, Meetinghouse Creek and Western Shinnecock Bay on April 12, 2023.

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 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's website.

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