Shellfish harvesting areas in three Suffolk towns have reopened because of improved water quality, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Wednesday.

The total shellfish harvesting areas that have reopened for certain months during the year cover about 303 acres of bays and creeks in Babylon, Southold and East Hampton towns, the agency said in a news release.

Recent water quality surveys show reduced levels of fecal coliform bacteria during cooler months, the DEC said. The survey's results have emboldened the agency to re-certify the following areas for seasonal shellfish harvesting:

Great South Bay in the Town of Babylon: About 150 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from Oct. 1 through May 14, annually.

Northwest Creek in the Town of East Hampton: About 88 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from Dec. 15 through April 30, annually.

Mattituck Creek in the Town of Southold: About 52 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from Jan. 15 through April 15, annually.

Wickham Creek in the Town of Southold: About 13 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from Dec. 1 through April 30, annually.

More information is available by calling the DEC's Shellfisheries Section at 631-444-0492.

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