Shoreham oyster digger heads to jail

A Shoreham man is set to serve five months behind bars after environmental police busted him mislabeling oysters that were later found to be laden with coliform bacteria, state officials said.

Kyle Frisina had harvested the oysters from the Nissequogue Riverhead in Smithtown, which is closed to shellfishing, authorities said.

State Department of Environmental Conservation police first busted Mr. Frisina while he was digging in the river June 17.  He was charged in that incident, but an investigation led to some 2,100 oysters at a seafood dealer that were found to contain “extremely high levels of coliform bacteria,” police said. The oysters were labeled as being harvested by Mr. Frisina between June 13 and June 16 and were tagged illegally.

The oysters were later destroyed by the seafood company.

Mr. Frisina pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to four misdemeanor counts related to improper tagging. His shellfish harvester permit has also been revoked for five years, state officials said.

Shellfish tagging is crucial to tracking shellfish-borne illnesses in humans. Oysters are tagged by the harvester to denote the specific location in body of water from which they were taken. DEC authorities are urging anyone who witnesses an environmental crime to report it at (800) TIPP-DEC.

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