Shellfishing ban remains in Nassau, western Suffolk

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Shellfishing remains temporarily prohibited in areas of Nassau and western Suffolk counties, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday.

The state agency extended the restriction on shellfishing because of adverse water quality related to superstorm Sandy, according to a news release.

Starting at sunrise Thursday, areas in the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay in Nassau and Babylon in Suffolk are "designated as uncertified and the harvest of shellfish is temporarily prohibited until water quality testing determines that the areas meet certified area water quality criteria," the release said.

The area in Nassau includes all of Hempstead Bay, East Bay and South Oyster Bay and their tributaries.

In Suffolk, the banned area includes "all the normally certified shellfish lands in Great South Bay, including tributaries, lying west of a line extending southeasterly from the southernmost tip of Bergen Point (also known as Fleet Point) to the eastern side of Nezeras Island (lying east of Fox Creek Channel) and continuing southeast across the State Boat Channel to Jones Island at the eastern side of Cedar Beach Park."

The ban will be lifted when the results of water quality testing samples return safe results, the agency said.

Recent water samples showed elevated fecal coliform levels in these areas, which means the likely presence of bacteria and viruses that can cause illness in shellfish consumers.

A more detailed description of the closed areas is available by calling 631-444-0475 during normal business hours or by visiting dec.ny.gov.

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