Three North Shore Areas to be Closed Starting Sept. 4; Areas Expected to Reopen Sept. 10
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the temporary closure of three shellfishing areas on the north shore of Long Island during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period. These closures are imposed during busy holidays to protect public health from potentially contaminated shellfish associated with increased boating activity in shellfishing waters. Boaters are reminded to use pump-out facilities to help protect these waters. When boating, DEC encourages New Yorkers to get outside safely, locally, and responsibly during the State’s response to COVID-19, and to avoid busy waters.
“DEC closes shellfishing in these waters annually during the Labor Day holiday due to the heavy increase in recreational activities,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Responsible boating plays a major role in protecting our local waterways and DEC continues to urge boaters to be aware of the no-discharge zones in New York’s coastal waters and to use pump-out facilities to prevent impacts to our natural resources and protect public health.”
Since 1995, DEC has designated these areas as temporarily uncertified for the harvest of shellfish during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. During peak holiday periods, discharges from marine sanitation devices (toilets) may contaminate nearby shellfish beds with pathogenic bacteria or viruses, rendering the shellfish unsafe for human consumption.
DEC will designate the following areas, all on the north shore of Long Island, as closed to the harvest of shellfish beginning at sunrise on Friday, Sept. 4, and continuing through Wednesday, Sept. 9:
Shellfish harvesting is expected to resume in these areas on Thursday, Sept. 10. If poor weather causes fewer boaters to visit these areas, DEC may rescind the closure and reopen the areas earlier to harvesting. A recorded message advising the public about temporary closures of any shellfishing areas in New York State is accessible 24 hours a day by calling (631) 444-0480. The recorded message also advises harvesters when such areas have reopened. Information, including maps showing the affected areas, is available on DEC’s website.
New York State is encouraging boaters to engage in responsible recreation during the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19. The particular practice of “rafting” where multiple vessels tie up with each other should be avoided since this can increase the chance of disease transmission. DEC recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. For more information about engaging in responsible recreation this summer, visit DEC’s website.
Boaters should be aware that Oyster Bay Harbor, the Sand Hole, and Port Jefferson Harbor are designated as no-discharge zones in their entirety. A no-discharge zone is a designated body of water where the discharge of treated or untreated boat sewage is prohibited. Boaters in these areas should utilize the following pump-out facilities:
A full list of No Discharge Zones in New York State, including other Long Island waters, can be found on DEC’s website.