Harbor Closed to Shellfishing Due to Fireworks Crowds

The State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the temporary closure of Three Mile Harbor to shellfishing from Saturday through Wednesday due to the Clamshell Foundation's Great Bonac Fireworks display on Saturday night.

All normally certified shellfish lands in Three Mile Harbor, including tributaries, located south of a line extending due east from the northern end of the western jetty at the inlet of Three Mile Harbor, to the northern end of the eastern jetty, on the eastern side of the inlet, will be closed as of sunrise on Saturday. The area, approximately 1,045 acres, includes the entrance channel to the harbor. No shellfish may be taken from Three Mile Harbor during that time.

Since 1993, the D.E.C. has temporarily closed the harbor to shellfishing during and after the fireworks event due to the potential of sewage discharge from the large number of recreational boats that remain in the harbor overnight and the increased potential for contamination of shellfish beds.

Discharges of sewage may contaminate nearby shellfish beds with pathogenic bacteria or viruses, rendering them unsafe for human consumption. The harbor is a no-discharge zone, and boaters have been reminded to always use the pump-out facilities. The East Hampton Town Trustees operate a pump-out boat in the harbor, and the town harbormaster's office, at Gann Road, has a self-serve facility. Both are available free of charge to boaters.

"We strongly encourage boaters to act responsibly and be aware of the no-discharge zones in Three Mile Harbor and to use pump-out facilities to prevent impacts to our natural resources and protect public health," Basil Seggos, the D.E.C. commissioner, said in a statement.

If the event is canceled due to poor weather and is postponed, the D.E.C. may rescind the closure and reopen the areas to harvesting earlier than next Thursday. 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 of temporary shellfish closures, is available on D.E.C.'s website.