Suffolk County, NY - April 9, 2014 - Shellfishing areas in several Towns in Suffolk County that were closed on March 31 have been reopened, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The areas have been reopened after DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources tested water samples that were collected with the assistance from the towns of Southampton and Southold. Testing indicated that water quality in those areas meets the standards for certified (open) areas.
Most shellfishing areas around Long Island had been designated as uncertified (closed) on Monday, March 31 following the extraordinarily heavy rainfall and stormwater runoff that affected Long Island over the previous weekend. Rainfall in many areas exceeded four inches, with as much as five inches in some east end towns.
DEC temporarily closes shellfishing areas to protect public health. Stormwater runoff caused by heavy rainfall carries bacteria and other pathogens into adjacent surface waters. When water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays is adversely affected be excessive runoff, shellfish in those areas have an increased potential to be hazardous for use as food.
The following areas have been reopened to shellfishing effective Wednesday, April 9:
- Town of Brookhaven (south shore): All the normally certified areas of Great South Bay lying east of Nicoll Point including Nicoll Bay, Patchogue Bay and Bellport Bay.
- Town of Southampton: All the normally certified areas in North Sea Harbor and Sag Harbor.
- Town of Southold: All the normally certified areas within the Town of Southold, including Fishers Island.
- Town of Shelter Island: All the normally certified areas within the Town of Shelter Island.
Note: All other areas that were designated as uncertified for the harvest of shellfish by an emergency designation dated March 31, 2014 remain uncertified, except particular areas in the Towns of Hempstead, Huntington, Smithtown, Brookhaven (north shore) and East Hampton, that previously were reopened on April 3, 2014 and particular areas in the Towns of Southold and Southampton that were reopened on April 4, 2014.
A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard at (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closures. For more detailed descriptions of the closed areas please call the office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0492. Additionally, information about temporary closures is available on DEC's website.