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DEC closes 3 North Shore shellfishing areas

Three North Shore shellfishing areas will be temporarily closed for harvesting during the upcoming Labor Day weekend, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Tuesday.

The three areas -- a section of Oyster Bay, the Sand Hole in the Town of Huntington, and a section of Port Jefferson Harbor in Brookhaven -- typically are closed during holidays to prevent discharge associated with increased boating activity from potentially contaminating shellfish, according to a news release by the department.

Joe Martens, commissioner of the department, called the move precautionary and reminded boaters to act responsibly and respect the no-discharge zones in each of the closed areas.

He also asked that boaters use pump-out facilities or pump-out boats to protect "our natural resources."

Harvesting of shellfish in the area is prohibited from sunrise on Saturday through Wednesday, the release said.

The waters protected include 445 acres in a section of Oyster Bay,; 50 acres in the Sand Hole; and 243 acres in a section of Port Jefferson Harbor.

Each of the areas will be monitored by local bay constables, and if boat traffic in the areas is lower than normal, the department could reopen the areas to harvesting before Wednesday, the department said.

Each of the three areas will offer pump-out facilities or options, the conservation department said.

In Oyster Bay Harbor, one pump-out boat is operated by the Town of Oyster Bay at no fee to boaters. Contact the pump-out boat via marine radio VHF channel 9. In addition, the town provides two pump-out stations on floats near the Oyster Bay Marine Center and Waterfront Park and a land-based pump-out in the town marina at Theodore Roosevelt Park.

There is a land-based pump-out facility at Powle's Marine Center in Cold Spring Harbor. Boaters traveling from Town of Huntington waters can request the services of the town pump-out boat at no charge by calling on marine radio VHF Ch. 9. There are also land-based pump-out facilities at marinas in Northport Harbor and Huntington Harbor.

The Town of Brookhaven operates a pump-out boat at no fee in Port Jefferson Harbor. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays only. Boaters also can contact the Town's pump-out boat via marine radio VHF Ch. 73.

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