Three Mile Harbor will be closed to shellfishing from sunrise on Saturday through Wednesday, coinciding with the Clamshell Foundation's annual fireworks display, which is set for Saturday night.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced it has closed the harbor to shellfishing on the day of the fireworks and for the following four days since 1993 due to the increased potential for contamination of shellfish beds from the recreational boats that crowd the harbor for the annual event and often remain overnight. Discharges of waste from boats may render shellfish unsafe for consumption.
The Peconic-Gardiner's Bay area, which includes Three Mile Harbor, is a no-discharge zone, where discharges of treated or untreated sewage are prohibited. Boaters are required to use pump-out facilities, which are operated by the East Hampton Town Trustees. The boat can be contacted by using marine radio, VHF channel 73, or by calling 631-644-7162. The harbormaster's office at Gann Road has a self-serve facility. Both are available at no fee.
"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," Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement issued on Monday. Shellfish harvesting is expected to resume in the area Thursday.
If the fireworks are canceled or postponed due to inclement weather, the D.E.C. may rescind the closure and reopen the areas earlier than next Thursday. A recorded message advising the public about temporary closures of shellfishing areas in the state is accessible 24 hours a day by calling 631-444-0480. The message also advises harvesters when such areas have reopened. Information, including maps showing affected areas, is available at dec.ny.gov.