Action AlertHows The WaterOB/CSH Protection CommitteeOyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closures – Oyster Bay NY

The following Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closure Notice was sent out by the DEC: (note:  some text was highlighted by Friends of the Bay)

Temporary Emergency Shellfish Closures - click to enlarge map

“Effective at sunrise, July 13, 2012, due to the documented illnesses of individuals from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a naturally-occurring marine bacteria, associated with the consumption of raw or partially cooked shellfish, the following shellfish lands in the Town of Oyster Bay are designated as UNCERTIFIED.

Accordingly, it is unlawful to harvest shellfish from the following areas: Town of Oyster Bay (north shore): All the normally certified shellfish lands in Oyster Bay Harbor lying westerly of a line extending southerly from the stone house at Plum Point (Centre Island) to the northwestern most point of Cove Point on Cove Neck.

This action was taken after DEC and the New York State Department of Health documented illnesses in three people who ate raw or partially cooked shellfish in Nassau County.  The DOH determined the illnesses were associated with the consumption of shellfish and DEC determined the source of the shellfish.  An additional four illnesses were reported to DEC by two other states that received shellfish harvested in Oyster Bay Harbor. Laboratory tests have determined that the illnesses were caused by the marine bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus,  a naturally-occurring marine bacterium generally associated with warm water conditions. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is not associated with sewage or stormwater contamination of harvest areas. When ingested, Vibrio parahaemolyticus may cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, often accompanied by abdominal cramps, fever and chills.  Symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of ingestion and full recovery may take up to a week.  More severe illness may occur in people with compromised immune systems or underlying chronic diseases. To prevent additional illnesses from occurring, the DEC is prohibiting the harvest of shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor, effective immediately.

This closure will remain in effect until samples collected by the DEC indicate that shellfish from the affected area are no longer a threat to consumers.  No other harvest areas have been implicated in these Vibrio parahaemolyticus illnesses. All shellfish harvesters, shippers, reshippers, processors, restaurants and retail food establishments are advised to check the identity tags on all containers of shellfish in their inventories.  If the tag indicates the harvest area was Oyster Bay Harbor and had a harvest date before July 13, the product must not be sold.

Wholesale shellfish dealers should also check their sales records to determine whether they have handled or sold any shellfish from the affected harvest area from June 1 through July 12.  If so, they should immediately contact any customers that may have received shellfish from the area and advise them not to sell or serve those shellfish.  Any business or establishment that has shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor is advised to call the DEC shellfisheries inspection program at (631) 444-0494.”

The following information is from Friends of the Bay:

The surface water temperature at Plum Point (FOB Site 5) on Monday was 75.34 degrees.  Last year, at the same time the temperature was 72.88.