Emergency regulations to close shellfish harvesting areas comprising about 1,945 acres of bays and harbors in the towns of Islip and Brookhaven (Nicoll Bay), and in the town of Southold (Cutchogue Harbor) take effect immediately, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.  Water quality studies in these areas found increased levels of fecal coliform bacteria resulting in an increased potential for shellfish from the areas to cause human illness if consumed.

The following areas have been closed effective yesterday, November 9, 2011.

Towns of Islip and Brookhaven

Nicoll Bay – 1,943 acres:  All of northern Nicoll Bay, including the Connetquot River, Brickiln Creek (local name) and all tributary creeks and canals between Nicoll Point and Blue Point that had previously been closed seasonally for shellfishing from May 1 through December 14.

Approximately 1,770 acres of the 1,943 acres in Nicoll Bay that have been closed year-round are owned by The Nature Conservancy or the former Blue Points Company and are not currently available for commercial or recreational shellfishing.

Town of Southold

Cutchogue Harbor (New Suffolk) – two acres: All of the marina located at the eastern end of New Suffolk Avenue (Main Street, New Suffolk) within the confines of the stone breakwater protecting the marina, and all the area to the east of the stone breakwater within 150 feet of the southernmost point of the breakwater on the northern side of the marina basin entrance.

DEC will continue to monitor water quality of these and other shellfishing areas in Nassau and Suffolk counties as part of its participation in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). If future water quality analyses show that water quality has improved sufficiently, DEC will re-open the areas for shellfishing either seasonally or year-round.

The emergency regulations specifying the changes announced today take effect immediately and will appear in the November 30, 2011 edition of the New York State Register at: http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register.htm. Complete text descriptions and maps of the closed areas are on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68956.html.  Individuals can also call the DEC Shellfisheries office at (631) 444-0475.  For general information about shellfish safety and New York’s role in the NSSP see: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/345.html.

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