BROOKHAVEN TOWN

Town creates shellfish management area in Bellport Bay

Glenn Rohrbacker
Posted 7/23/20

The Town of Brookhaven recently passed a resolution creating a designated management area in Bellport Bay. The area provides protection for shellfish that are planted there, which are part of …

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BROOKHAVEN TOWN

Town creates shellfish management area in Bellport Bay

Posted

The Town of Brookhaven recently passed a resolution creating a designated management area in Bellport Bay. The area provides protection for shellfish that are planted there, which are part of environmental restoration efforts.

“I am thrilled that the town is considering creating a shellfish management area in Bellport Bay,” said Thomas Schultz, president of Friends of Bellport Bay, at the July 16 public hearing.

The resolution will allow town partner and local nonprofit Friends of Bellport Bay to plant oysters in that area, undisturbed. Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine told the Advance that the initiative helps with the larger effort of preserving the bay through oysters.

“We believe there are areas of the bay where we need to allow the shellfish population to [improve],” Romaine said.

Schultz told the town board that his group worries about planted oysters being harvested, which prevents their continued growth and filtration of the bay. They are only allowed to plant in certified waters, which also means the oysters planted are vulnerable to harvesting.

“All the people of Brookhaven Town deserve a healthy bay ecosystem,” Schultz said.

The town has partnered with FoBB and other organizations to plant oysters for restoration. Romaine said the bay should be brought back to the quality it saw decades ago, and that Bellport Bay is an ideal place for preservation success due to the inlet, which helps to flush the bay.

The town has sketched a 2-acre rectangular parcel that is west of the Bellport Marina. Friends of Bellport Bay will be working to adjust that shape to more of a square, which they said will allow the shellfish to grow and spread more naturally within the space without being knocked out.

“This is off limits for those who want to harvest shellfish,” Romaine said.

The new initiative will allow the town to partner with local nonprofit Friends of Bellport Bay, which will plant oysters in a specifically designated area, undisturbed. 

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