The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announces the reopening of shellfish harvesting areas in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. DEC had closed several harbors and bays earlier in the week following heavy rainfall event last Sunday. The closures were implemented on Monday, April 23 as a precautionary measure to protect shellfish consumers. Extraordinary volumes of stormwater runoff carry bacteria and viruses into the creeks, coves, harbors and bays and may cause shellfish in the affected areas to be hazardous for use as food.
All the areas that were closed have been tested and most have been reopened or will reopen for harvest at sunrise on Friday, April 27. A few areas will remain closed into early next week.
The following harbors and bays have been reopened to shellfishing:
• Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): The normally certified shellfishing areas in Oyster Bay Harbor and the southern portion of Cold Spring Harbor.
• Town of Hempstead: The seasonally certified section of Zachs Bay only.
• Town of Oyster Bay (south shore): All the normally certified shellfishing areas in South Oyster Bay, within the Town of Oyster Bay only.
• Towns of Babylon and Islip: The normally certified shellfishing areas in Great South Bay, west of Nicoll Point.
• Town of Brookhaven: The normally certified shellfishing areas in Mount Sinai Harbor.
• Town of Huntington: The normally certified shellfishing areas in Lloyd Harbor, Northport Bay, Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor, Huntington Bay and Cold Spring Harbor.
DEC re-opened these areas based on the results of bacteriological analyses of water samples that the Bureau of Marine Resources collected, which demonstrated that water quality meets the standards for a certified area suitable for the harvest of shellfish for human consumption.
However, tests of samples collected from Hempstead Harbor, northern Nicoll Bay, lying east of Nicoll Point, northern Patchogue Bay and all of Bellport Bay indicated that water quality was not suitable for shellfish harvesting. Those areas will remain closed through Monday, April 30.
During temporary shellfish closures, a recorded message advising harvesters and others of the status of shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. For detailed descriptions of the closed areas, call DEC's East Setauket office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0475 or visit the Special Shellfish Closures page on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/35917.html