Temporary shellfishing ban starts Friday

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Harvesting of shellfish and carnivorous gastropods will be temporarily banned on almost 1,400 acres of water off Long Island, starting at sunrise Friday, state officials said Thursday.

Saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that can be dangerous to people, has been detected in shellfish living in Huntington Town and Southampton Town waters, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

The samples were tested as part of DEC's marine biotoxin monitoring program, which has 18 sites around the Island.

Shellfish include clams and oysters, while carnivorous gastropods, which include conchs, whelks and moon snails, eat shellfish, accumulating biotoxins at levels that are hazardous to people.

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In Southampton, the ban covers about 490 acres of water, including all the underwater lands in Sag Harbor Cove and Upper Sag Harbor Cove and their tributaries west of the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge, known as the Route 114 Bridge.

In Huntington, the closure covers about 887 acres, including all the normally uncertified areas of Northport Harbor, Northport Bay, Steers Canal and Huntington Harbor.

DEC will reopen areas based on laboratory results over the next few weeks.

Maps showing the affected areas can be seen at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html. A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of temporarily closed shellfish areas may be heard at 631-444-0480.

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