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For Release: Friday, May 5, 2023

DEC Announces Additional Temporary Harvest Closures for Shellfishing and Carnivorous Gastropods and Reopening of Previously Closed Area in Shinnecock Bay

Closure Affects Town of Southampton after Discovery of Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced an additional temporary closure for the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods from a portion of Moriches Bay in the town of Southampton, effective immediately.

This action was taken to protect public health after DEC determined mussels collected as part of the Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program from a monitoring site in Beaverdam Creek 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 160 acres in Moriches Bay in the following area is affected:

Town of Southampton: All the area of Moriches Bay and its tributaries lying north of a line extending easterly from the southernmost tip of land at Tanners Neck (local landmark) to the southeasternmost point of land at the southeast corner of the property located at 15 Fiske Avenue, Westhampton Beach.

Additionally, the area of Shinnecock Bay that was closed to the harvest of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods on April 12, will be reopened to the harvest of shellfish in all the normally certified areas, and the harvest of carnivorous gastropods, effective at sunrise on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

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 the DEC website.

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