HEMPSTEAD - After more than 40 years, state officials reopened the Hempstead Harbor waterway to shellfishing today.

Shellfishing had been banned for decades because of water quality that was considered too polluted for clamming.

Many bay men, who usually work out of Huntington or Oyster Bay, say they took advantage of Opening Day, reporting that the catch was good at clamming beds in a portion of the harbor.

The reopening was also a cause for celebration for the non-profit environmental group Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, which was formed in the 1980s to clean up and preserve the waterway.