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Shellfishing ban in Huntington Harbor due to biotoxin, DEC says

The historic Huntington Lighthouse marks the mouth of

The historic Huntington Lighthouse marks the mouth of Huntington Harbor. It was completed in 1912 at the junction of Huntington Harbor and Lloyd Harbor. Credit: Chuck Fadely

A temporary ban on harvesting shellfish and carnivorous gastropods — whelks, conchs, moon snails — in Huntington Harbor was put into effect Wednesday, after a marine biotoxin was detected, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday in a news release.

Close to 400 acres in Huntington Harbor and its tributaries are affected, the department said.

The ban is designed to protect public health, as consumers who eat the filter-feeding shellfish, which have accumulated the biotoxins, can become ill, the DEC said. The gastropods feed on shellfish and can also accumulate the biotoxins.

The ban was instituted after mussels tested positive for saxitoxin, a biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, said the DEC, which will check several other shellfish monitoring locations on Long Island and call for further closures if necessary.

After biotoxin was found in shellfish in Northport Harbor, areas of the harbor and a section of the adjacent Northport Bay were closed to the taking of the gastropods May 17, the DEC said.

Laboratory analysis will be conducted over the next few weeks, and those areas will be reopened based on the results.

For details on the closures, listen to the recorded message at 631-444-0480.

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