Shellfish harvesting areas in the Towns of Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Babylon, Islip and Brookhaven have been designated as temporarily closed to shellfishing, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. These temporary emergency closures are in response to stormwater runoff associated with the extraordinary rainfall event that affected these areas of Long Island on Tuesday, September 4 into Wednesday, September 5.
The following area has been designated as uncertified effective today, September 5 and the harvest of shellfish is temporarily prohibited through Tuesday, September 11, 2012:
Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay (south shore): All that area of South Oyster Bay and its tributaries in the Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay.
Towns of Babylon and Islip: All that area of Great South Bay and its tributaries lying westerly of the northbound span of the Robert Moses Twin Causeway bridges.
Town of Brookhaven (north shore): All of Mt. Sinai Harbor.
This precautionary action was taken to protect public health following the heavy rainfall event of the past 24 hours. 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. Rainfall was measured in excess of three (3) inches in the affected area.
DEC will re-open the area as soon as possible based on the results of bacteriological analyses of water samples. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of 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 area, the public may call the Bureau of Marine Resources office during regular business hours at (631) 444-0475, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Logo courtesy New York Department of Environmental Conservation