Three North Shore shellfishing areas will be temporarily closed during Labor Day weekend, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation said.
The DEC said the following areas will be closed to the harvesting of shellfish beginning at sunrise Saturday through Sept. 5:
- 445 acres in a section of Oyster Bay Harbor in the Town of Oyster Bay
- 50 acres in the area known as the Sand Hole in the Town of Huntington
- 347 acres in northern Port Jefferson Harbor in Brookhaven
Boaters who empty toilets into the Sound can pollute nearby shellfish beds “with pathogenic bacteria or viruses, rendering the shellfish unsafe for human consumption,” the DEC said.
“As a precautionary measure, DEC annually halts shellfishing in these waters during the Labor Day holiday weekend because of the heavy increase in recreational boating,” DEC Comissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release.
The DEC said it has taken this approach to keep the public safe since 1995. This temporary suspension of shellfishing also applies during the Fourth of July holiday.
Shellfish harvesting is expected to resume in these areas on Sept. 6. If poor weather causes fewer boaters to visit these areas, DEC may reopen them to harvesting sooner.
Boaters are urged to use pump-out facilities in Oyster Bay Harbor (West Harbor), the Sand Hole (Lloyd Neck) and Port Jefferson Harbor.