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Shellfish harvesting to reopen in Cold Spring Harbor

Shellfish harvesting, except for oysters, will again be permitted in Cold Spring Harbor waters in Oyster Bay and Huntington beginning at sunrise Saturday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Friday.

The DEC closed about 4,800 acres of shellfish lands in Oyster Bay Harbor and Cold Spring Harbor in June when the New York State Health Department confirmed reports of shellfish-related illnesses linked to eating oysters and hard clams, officials said.

Test results showed the illnesses were caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, also known as Vp, a marine bacteria that causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and chills, DEC officials said.

In the past few weeks, DEC has collected and tested clam samples from Cold Spring Harbor at its East Setauket laboratory and at a U.S. Food and Drug Administration laboratory in Alabama.

The department determined there are no longer hazardous levels of Vp in hard clams, officials said.

But it recommends keeping shellfish out of the sun, and keeping them refrigerated to reduce potential growth of the bacteria.

DEC officials also said it will continue to collect and test shellfish samples from additional areas in eastern Oyster Bay Harbor to determine Vp levels, officials said.

Last week, the DEC rescinded the closure of about 1,300 acres in the western portion of Oyster Bay Harbor based on similar testing of clams and oysters, officials said.

The harvest of shellfish, including oysters, was allowed to resume in certain areas of Oyster Bay Harbor lying west of the Centre Island peninsula, officials said.

Shellfish harvesting continues to be prohibited in about 1,100 acres of shellfish lands in Oyster Bay Harbor, lying west of a line extending from Plum Point (Centre Island) to Cove Point on Cove Neck, and east of a line extending from Brickyard Point on Centre Island to the northernmost rock jetty lying north of the Town of Oyster Bay boat ramp in Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park.

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