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DEC extends open season for bay scallop harvesting to April 30

The State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Friday that it has extended the open season for bay scallop harvesting until April 30 to provide additional opportunities for commercial shellfishing.

The DEC filed emergency regulations on March 27 allowing for a onetime extension of the open season, possession and sale restrictions for bay scallop harvest from March 31 to April 30. The open season for bay scallop harvest begins the first Monday in November 2014.

DEC commissioner Joe Martens said the extension "is critical to maximizing the income potential by commercial harvesters and to mitigate financial hardship caused by extensive icing of local embayments this winter that have prevented bay scallop harvest in Peconic Bays since early February."

Martens said the extension will "provide for increased revenues by commercial harvesters, shippers and local seafood markets while ensuring the viability of bay scallop resources in state waters."

New York's bay scallops are primarily located in the waters of the Peconic and Gardiners bays in eastern Suffolk County, largely in the towns of Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, Southampton and East Hampton.

The harsh winter temperatures caused widespread freezing of East End embayments, preventing commercial harvesting of bay scallops in areas of Peconic Bays for up to five weeks, the DEC said. Some parts of the Peconic Bays are still inaccessible because of ice.

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