EAST QUOGUE - Parts of Shinnecock Bay are closed to shellfishing due to alarming levels of a toxin in the water.

The DEC found alarming levels of saxitoxin in shellfish pulled from the bay. The DEC halted all shellfish harvesting from a 4,000-acre area of western Shinnecock Bay in response.

Eating shellfish with high levels of saxitoxin can cause paralysis or even death.

Bayman and Southampton Town Trustee Ed Warner says the warmer water temperatures combined with increased nitrogen pollution fueled red algae blooms that created the toxin.

The toxin levels found in the shellfish are so high that it’s thought the ban could last three weeks to a month or possibly even longer.

The DEC says the closure is temporary and that it is monitoring toxin levels in shellfish to determine when they will be safe to eat again.