Shellfish survey to be conducted in Manhasset Bay

Shellfish survey to be conducted in Manhasset Bay
The Manhasset Bay. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Manhasset Bay Protection Committee along with the Town of North Hempstead will be conducting a shellfish survey to assess the bay and its viability for shellfish.

The Manhasset Bay Protection Committee is an inter-governmental committee open to local governments within the Manhasset Bay watershed, including North Hempstead. The town approved the shellfish survey at its April 4 meeting.

The committee recently received a $100,000 grant from former representative Tom Suozzi through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct more shellfish seeding – the process of depositing spat, or young shellfish, in the bay.

In order to determine where to seed the shellfish, the committee must conduct a survey to assess the bay. This includes evaluating the bottom makeup of the bay and determining the presence of predators throughout the entire bay.

Sarah Deonarine, the director of the committee, said shellfish reside on the bottom of the bay and cannot survive in muddy environments. Rather the shellfish need a sandy bay bottom to reside in. This is why the bottom makeup of the bay has to be assessed.

To conduct the survey, divers will collect samples of the bay floor and sample the shellfish population up to the shoreline, according to Deonarine.

A grid will be laid over the entire bay and stations for sample collection will be chosen at random. At the 60 stations chosen, a ring will be tossed off the boat to select the bottom floor sample, which the diver will then dive to in order to collect the sample.

Deonarine said it is unknown how long it will take to conduct the survey, but estimated it could take about a month.

She said the survey will be conducted immediately once a permit is obtained. The survey can be done any time between May and October so she said she is hoping for a speedy process to obtain a permit.

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