Long Island Opens 303 Acres to Shellfishing

Long Island Opens 303 Acres to Shellfishing
Photo illustration, New England Boating.

Citing water quality improvements based on recent water quality surveys, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens has announced regulations that will reopen shellfish harvesting areas in three Suffolk County towns on Long Island. Shellfish harvesting will be permitted during particular months of the year in approximately 303 acres of bays and creeks in the towns of Babylon, Southold and East Hampton.

The surveys showed improvements in water quality, with reduced levels of fecal coliform bacteria during cooler months of the year. The survey results support DEC amended regulations that upgrade shellfish classifications in the affected areas from uncertified (closed) year-round to seasonally-certified (open). Shellfish from these areas may be harvested during the specified certified periods.

The changes which took effect on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 are listed below:

  • Great South Bay (Town of Babylon): Approximately 150 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from October 1 through May 14, annually.
  • Northwest Creek (Town of East Hampton): Approximately 88 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from December 15 through April 30, annually.
  • Mattituck Creek (Town of Southold): Approximately 52 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from January 15 through April 15, annually.
  • Wickham Creek (Town of Southold): Approximately 13 acres of uncertified underwater lands are now designated as seasonally certified from December 1 through April 30, annually.

DEC continually conducts sanitary surveys and monitors water quality around Long Island as part of its participation in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. As necessary, DEC will make changes to the classification of shellfish lands to protect the public health.