DEC reopens local shellfishing areas

Meetinghouse Creek. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)
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.