DEC to Reopen Shellfishing Areas in Huntington, Suffolk County

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DEC to Reopen Shellfishing Areas in Huntington, Suffolk County - Click Picture For Larger ImageReopening Follows Extensive Testing of Shellfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the reopening of approximately 5,200 acres of shellfish harvesting areas in the Town of Huntington. These areas were closed on May 28, 2008, after DEC’s Bureau of Marine Resources detected saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, in shellfish harvested in Huntington Bay.

The following areas will be designated as certified (open) for the harvest of shellfish effective at sunrise on Saturday, June 14 and the harvest of shellfish will be permitted: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Lloyd Harbor, Coast Guard Cove, and Huntington Bay.

Approximately 2,000 acres in Northport Bay, Centerport Harbor and Duck Island Harbor will remain closed to shellfishing pending further testing.

A map of the areas (pdf, 109 kb) to be reopened and remaining closed is attached.

The decision to reopen the areas was based on the results of extensive testing of shellfish samples. DEC’s microbiology laboratory has tested nearly 75 shellfish samples since the start of the closure. Extracts from approximately half those samples were sent to the Maine Department of Marine Resources biotoxin laboratory for additional testing. The Maine laboratory confirmed DEC’s results that biotoxins were not detectable in shellfish in the reopened areas.

Both labs’ test results determined that biotoxin is still present in shellfish samples collected from Northport Bay, prompting DEC’s Bureau of Marine Resources to maintain a precautionary closure of approximately 2,000 acres in Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor and Centerport Harbor. Those areas will be reopened when the toxin is no longer detectable in shellfish from those areas.

A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of shellfish areas affected by closures may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message is updated during the course of temporary closures. Additional information will be available on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html