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Early Onset of Harmful Algal Bloom Leads to Long Island Shellfish Bed Closures

Selected inlet-estuary areas on eastern Long Island have been placed under temporary emergency shellfish closures by the State of New York.

On April 5, 2012, New York announced the earliest-ever closure caused by high levels of the harmful algal toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in New York shellfish and the first-ever biotoxin closure for shellfish beds in the Southold, Suffolk County location.  Yesterday, a second marine biotoxin closure was announced in the Town of Southampton (Shinnecock Bay).

More PSP-related closures are anticipated by NCCOS-funded investigator, Dr. Chris Gobler of Stony Brook University. Last month Dr. Gobler publically discussed the strong potential for an early arrival of PSP toxin producing red tide in Long Island waters this year.  The unusually warm winter had also prompted Dr. Gobler to encourage the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to begin earlier sampling this year.

Dr. Gobler is partnering with NYDEC through an NCCOS Harmful Algal Bloom Event Response project to enhance HAB monitoring in Long Island Sound and help New York respond to the accelerating and expanding threat of PSP to the state’s shellfish industry.

Read the closure notices via NYDEC: Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closures (April 10),

DEC Temporarily Closes Shellfishing Areas in Town of Southold, Suffolk County (April 5),  Shellfishing.

More information:

May 2, 2012 update: The Alexandrium bloom continued to expand, forcing additional biotoxin-related closures in new locations including the Mattituck Inlet and Sag Harbor. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation applied for and received NCCOS event response assistance, which will ensure adequate access to toxin test kits throughout this unprecedentedly long bloom season.

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