Hempstead shellfish hatchery aims to sink nitrogen pollution

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POINT LOOKOUT -

Hempstead Town officials are launching a shellfish hatching project in Reynolds Channel near Point Lookout to introduce millions of clams and oysters into the surrounding bay areas.

The goal is to help clean the waterways.

Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen says the state is contributing a $400,000 grant toward expanding and upgrading the small hatchery that already exists.

Capt. Thomas Weiss runs a fishing boat out of the channel and says shellfish can help remove nitrogen pollution.

"I have been doing this for 30 years, and I have seen drastic changes in the fishing," he says. "We need to do everything we can to turn around the destruction of our bays and harbors."

According to experts, oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who helped secure the state funding and also grew up in Point Lookout, says decades of sewage has polluted the water after being discharged from the nearby Bay Park treatment plant.He says the shellfish hatchery and new plans to relocate the sewage discharge into the Atlantic Ocean will help clean the bays.

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