Fishers question Hempstead Bay shellfishing ban
Parts of Hempstead Bay were recently closed to shellfishing, but local fishers say the ban is likely based on bad information. This week, state environmental officials announced that the 7,100-acre shellfish harvesting area west of the Wantagh Parkway would be closed until further notice. The shutdown came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a letter to the state saying it discovered "deficiencies" at the Town of Hempstead's water testing laboratory.State environmental officials say they don't believe the water was ever contaminated, but that instead there were problems with lab equipment and clerical errors made during analyses of water samples. Officials say it could be about 7 months before the area is reopened, but fishermen who rely on the waters for their livelihoods say that's unacceptable.Town officials say they will work with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to retest the water.