The state announced a temporary ban on shellfishing in Huntington waters on Tuesday due to the presence of the biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.
Northport Bay, Centerport Harbor, and Duck Island Harbor and their tributaries lying easterly of a line extending southerly from the tip of Sand City Beach to the corner of the beach pavilion at the Town of Huntington's Crescent Beach are closed to shellfishing until further notice. Visit the Department of Environmental Conservation's website for a detailed map of prohibited areas.
Shellfish samples from the above areas tested positive for a marine biotoxin produced by Alexandrium fundyense algae that is known to cause potentially fatal paralytic shellfish poisoning if consumed by humans.
Harmful algal blooms, commonly known as red tide because of associated discolorations in affected waters, are an increasing problem in Huntington waters with Northport Harbor at the epicenter.
Algae expert Dr. Chris Gobler of Stony Brook University, speaking at a water quality symposium in March, attributed the high concentration of algae in Northport Harbor to a number of factors, including inadequate "flush" of stagnant water, high nitrogen loads, and a recently discovered cyst bed that holds dormant concentrations of alexandrium algae which erupt in spring. Read the full article .
Gobler predicted that the warm winter would precipitate early arrivals of red tide, with a peak in May, and said that the harmful algae will likely make an early exit if warmer-than-average weather continues throughout the summer.
Additional information on emergency shellfishing closures can be obtained by calling the DEC hotline at (631) 444-0480.