DEC closes Meetinghouse Creek, Terry Creek to shellfishing

Meetinghouse Creek on Thursday morning. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
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.

The DEC issued the emergency closures Wednesday after detecting high levels of saxitoxin, which can cause  paralytic shellfish poisoning. Shellfish have been deemed unfit to eat, according to a DEC press release.

The closure impacts approximately 100 acres in the Town of Riverhead, covering all the underwater lands in Terry Creek and Meetinghouse Creek. (See map of affected areas below)

All harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods in these lands is prohibited until further notice, the DEC said.

In a statement Thursday, the DEC said it would re-open areas as soon as possible based on the results of laboratory analyses that will be conducted over the next few weeks.