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North Shore shellfishing areas temporarily closing, officials say

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday announced the annual temporary closing, starting Tuesday, of three North Shore shellfishing areas, including the Port Jefferson Harbor area, seen here on May 6. Credit: John Roca

With the long Fourth of July holiday on the horizon, the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday announced the annual temporary closing of three North Shore shellfishing areas beginning next week.

The closures start Tuesday at sunrise and last through July 9.

The areas are closed each year during this holiday period as a precautionary measure because an increase in recreational boating can lead to more waste discharged into waters, the DEC said in a release. That, in turn, contaminates shellfish, making it “unsafe for human consumption.”

Areas to be closed Tuesday are:
•    445 acres in a section of Oyster Bay Harbor, Town of Oyster Bay.
•    50 acres in the area known as the Sand Hole, Town of Huntington.
•    347 acres in northern Port Jefferson Harbor, Town of Brookhaven.

The ban is expected to be lifted for July 10, but if poor weather leads to less-than-expected boating activity, the areas may be opened earlier, the DEC said.

In addition, boaters are asked to “act responsibly and be aware of the no-discharge zones in Port Jefferson Harbor, Oyster Bay Harbor and the Sand Hole,” and should make use of pump-out facilities in the area, DEC Commissioner Basil  Seggos said.

Members of the public can call the DEC at 631-444-0480 for a recorded message with information about temporary closures of any shellfishing areas in the state. The recorded message, which is available around the clock, also advises harvesters when such areas have reopened.

Maps of the closed areas can be seen at the DEC's website, dec.ny.gov, by scrolling to the bottom of the page, clicking on "Outdoor Activities" and then clicking on "Shellfishing" for alerts.

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