The temporary emergency shellfish closures that were implemented in Nassau and Suffolk Counties in response to the coastal flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy have been partially rescinded, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC had initially implemented the shellfishing closures on Monday, October 29 and then extended them through November 13.
The following areas are currently designated as certified and the harvest of shellfish, including bay scallops, is permitted:
- 1. Town of Brookhaven (south shore): All the normally certified shellfish lands of Moriches and Narrow Bay.
- 2. Town of Brookhaven (north shore): All the normally certified shellfish lands of Port Jefferson Harbor and Mt Sinai Harbor.
- 3. Town of Huntington: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Huntington Bay, Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor, Centerport Harbor and Lloyd Harbor and all the normally certified shellfish lands in Cold Spring Harbor lying northerly of the Town of Huntington Beach Pavilion at West Neck Beach.
- 4. Town of Riverhead: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay.
- 5. Town of Southampton: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Moriches Bay and Narrow Bay and all of the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay and Little Peconic Bay lying westerly of the northern most point of Jessups Neck, excluding all enclosed creeks, harbors, coves and tributaries along the north shore of the Town of Southampton.
- 6. Town of Southold: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, Cutchogue Harbor and Hog Neck Bay, lying westerly of the Cedar Beach Point and excluding all enclosed creeks, harbors, coves and tributaries along the south shore of the Town of Southold and, all the normally certified areas along the northern shore of Fishers Island, including Hay Harbor, West Harbor and East Harbor.
- 7. Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): All the normally certified shellfish lands in Oyster Bay Harbor and all of the normally certified shellfish lands in Cold Spring Harbor lying northerly of Cooper Bluff on Cove Neck.
The normally certified shellfish lands in the Atlantic Ocean, Gardiners Bay, Block Island Sound, Smithtown Bay and Long Island Sound (east of Matinecock Point) had remained open for the harvest of shellfish.
However, all of the remaining enclosed creeks, coves, harbors, bays and their tributaries in Nassau and Suffolk County, not identified above, remain closed for the harvest of shellfish, including bay scallops through Tuesday, November 13.
The closures were implemented to protect the public health. The prolonged strong easterly winds, full moon and storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy caused significant coastal flooding that inundated septic systems and wastewater treatment systems in some low lying areas. Sewage treatment plants experienced temporary bypasses causing less than fully treated sewage to be discharged into certain shellfishing areas. When water quality in the enclosed creeks, coves, harbors and bays is adversely affected by such discharges, shellfish in those areas have an increased potential to be hazardous for use as food.
DEC will continue to conduct shoreline assessments and collect water samples for bacteriological testing. Additional area will re-open as soon as possible based on the results of the laboratory analyses of those samples.
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. If you would like a more detailed description of the closed areas please call the office during normal business hours at (631) 444-0475. Additionally, information about temporary closures is available on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html
Logo courtesy New York Department of Environmental Conservation