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3 North Shore shellfishing areas to be closed over July Fourth holiday

Three shellfishing areas on the North Shore will be temporarily closed over the July Fourth holiday to avoid shellfish contamination from increased boat traffic, state environmental officials said.

The areas are 445 acres in Oyster Bay, 50 acres in Sand Hole in the Town of Huntington, and 243 acres in Port Jefferson Harbor.

The closures begin at sunrise Saturday with shellfishing to resume Wednesday, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The closures are a precautionary measure taken each year since 1995 over July Fourth and Labor Day because discharges from boat toilets can contaminate nearby shellfish beds with pathogenic bacteria or viruses, the agency said.

"We strongly encourage boaters to act responsibly and recognize and respect the no-discharge zones in Port Jefferson Harbor, Oyster Bay Harbor and the Sand Hole and to use pump-out facilities to prevent impacts to our natural resources and protect public health," DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a statement.

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