There’s a battle going on in the water.
In one corner, there are shellfish, particularly oysters, which many say have been making a comeback in large part due to Suffolk County’s 10-year-old aquaculture lease program, which rents underwater land in Peconic and Gardiners bays to shellfish growers.
Meetinghouse Creek. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced about 4,000 acres of land in Southampton, Riverhead and Southold towns that were closed last month to shellfishing will reopen Wednesday.
The areas that will reopen at sunrise include shellfish lands in western Shinnecock Bay in Southampton Town, Terry and Meetinghouse creeks in Riverhead Town and James Creek in Southold Town.
The DEC issued the emergency closures in May after detecting high levels of saxitoxin, which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. The bodies of water have been closed to shellfishing after dangerous levels of marine biotoxins were found in shellfish and carnivorous gastropods, such as whelks, conchs and moon snails.
For more information on temporary emergency shellfish closures and maps of the affected areas, visit the DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of temporary shellfish closures may also be heard by calling (631) 444-0480.
Meetinghouse Creek on Thursday morning. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
State Department of Environmental Conservation officials have closed two Riverhead water bodies to shellfishing after finding dangerous levels of marine biotoxins in shellfish and carnivorous gastropods, such as conchs and moon snails, which feed on shellfish. (more…)
Sunday’s heavy rainfall has led to the temporary closure of shellfishing spots in Riverhead Town on Monday and continuing until next Monday, August 22, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced.
All of Flanders Bay, lying west of a line extending southwesterly from Miamogue Point to the northernmost point of Red Cedar Point will be closed for shellfishing for the next week, officials said.
In neighboring Southampton Town, all of Moriches Bay, Shinnecock Bay, Flanders Bay and the creeks, ponds, bays and harbors in the Town of Southampton lying between Red Cedar Point and North Haven Peninsula have been closed.
Rainfall was measured in excess of three inches in the affected areas, according to the DEC, and the extraordinary volume of stormwater runoff entering the bay may cause shellfish in the affected areas to be hazardous to eat.
“Most areas had in excess of five inches; some areas reported more than 10 inches of rain on Sunday, August 14,” the DEC said in a statement. “Such 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.”
More rain is predicting for Tuesday and shellfishing spots in Shelter Island and Southold towns may also close.