The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Friday that shellfish harvesting in particular areas in the Town of Southampton have been temporarily closed, effective immediately, due to the detection of a marine biotoxin.
The closure impacts approximately 3,900 acres, covering all the underwater lands in Shinnecock Bay that lie west of the southbound lanes of the Ponquogue Bridge and west of the western side of the Post Lane Bridge in Quogue. Clams, mussels and oysters are harvested commercially and recreationally in these areas.
All shellfish harvesting in these lands is prohibited until further notice in an effort to protect public health. A map showing the affected areas is available on the DEC website directly at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html.
This action was taken after DEC determined that shellfish samples collected from western Shinnecock Bay tested positive for saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The samples were tested as part of DEC’s marine biotoxin monitoring program. This is the first biotoxin closure of areas outside Huntington and Northport bays, which were first closed in 2006.
DEC will re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of laboratory analyses of shellfish and water samples that will be collected over the next few weeks. A taped message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas may be heard by calling (631) 444-0480. The message will be updated during the course of the temporary closure.