TODAY'S PAPER

Islip Town plans to open up more shellfish beds in bay

Islip Town’s program to lease acres of shellfish beds to private companies is on track to expand from 125 acres to more than 1,500 acres. The proposed change must be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, but will be good news for the roughly 120 people and businesses on a waiting list to lease the bottom of the Great South Bay, town officials said....

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Islip Town’s program to lease acres of shellfish beds to private companies is on track to expand from 125 acres to more than 1,500 acres. The proposed change must be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, but will be good news for the roughly 120 people and businesses on a waiting list to lease the bottom of the Great South Bay, town officials said.

Joshua Perry, 26, a hatchery technician, holds an oyster to demonstrate the shellfish growth, at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

Joshua Perry, 26, a hatchery technician, empties contaminated cultures not suitable for juvenile shellfish food, into a large animal container, where contamination is not an issue, at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

Douglas Winter, owner of the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm in East Islip, holds juvenile oysters while explaining the lifecyle of the shellfish, on Jan. 10, 2018.

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Hatchery technician Rebecca Hesner, 24, pours algae into a reactor tube which allows it space to bloom, and will later be used as shellfish food, at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

Carlie Schecht, a hatchery technician, sanitizes the floor of the micro algae culture room at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

A row of graduated cylinders at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

Rows of stock cultures of micro algae used in shellfish production at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

Hatchery technician Rebecca Hesner, 24, demonstrates a strainer used to separate sizes of oysters at the Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, in East Islip, on Jan. 10, 2018.

Workers mechanically sort oysters in West Sayville in the 1950s. In the early days all harvesting and processing was done by hand.

Workers unload oysters in West Sayville in the 1900s. In the early days all harvesting and processing was done by hand.

Men work on a dredge in West Sayville in the 1960s. The Town of Islip is seeking to expand an initiative to help bring back the region's shellfish industry, support local farmers and improve water quality in the bay. Mechanical harvesting dominated the leased bay-bottom lands in the 20th century as a less labor-intensive method of shellfishing.

Bluepoint Oyster Company in West Sayville in 1931. The name Bluepoint was originally from the Blue Point area, but the Blue Point oyster of the modern era, noted for its fast growth and flavor, was not only from the Great South Bay, but processed through this building that still stands on the shore in West Sayville.

Gathering oysters in West Sayville in 1917. The oysters were harvested from the bay bottom and brought by boat to the basins, where they were processed for the market. In the early years all harvesting was by hand.

Green's Harbor in West Sayville in the 1900s. The boat basins on the shore of Great South Bay were the center of the shellfishery during the late 19th century and into the 20th century.  Millions of oysters, clams and other fishery products passed through here during that time.