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Sag Harbor Cove shellfishing ban lifted

A ban on harvesting shellfish in 490 acres of Sag Harbor Cove because of the detection of a marine biotoxin has been lifted, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday.

The ban, instituted April 26, occurred when marine researchers found saxitoxin, a naturally occurring marine biotoxin that causes paralytic poisoning in clams, mussels and oysters, in shellfish in the cove.

The ban expired at sunrise Friday, the DEC said in a news release.

Also rescinded is an April 10 ban on taking carnivorous gastropods -- including conchs, whelks, moon snails -- in about 3,900 acres of underwater lands in Shinnecock Bay.

The decision to reopen the areas was based on the results of the DEC's testing of shellfish samples and is consistent with the requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, the release said.

The DEC's microbiology laboratory has tested more than 150 shellfish samples for biotoxin since March, the release said.

More information on temporary shellfish closures and maps of the affected areas is at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html. For a taped message on the status of shellfish areas, call 631-444-0480.

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