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Authorities Vexed as Hundreds of Dead Crabs Wash Up on Shores

The Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating incidents on shores of Tiana and Shinnecock Bay shores; Baykeeper points finger at red tide or pesticides.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is trying to find out why hundreds of blue crabs and horseshoe crabs have washed up dead on the shores of Tiana and Shinnecock Bays — and so far, there are no answers.

DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said that on Tuesday the department has fielded many reports of the crabs washing up near the shores of the Shinnecock Indian Reservation at the end of Corwin Lane in Hampton Bays.

"It's an ongoing investigation," she said.

Eric Shultz, the president of the Southampton Town Trustees, said he also received reports of dead crabs and conducted his own investigation. He believes the crabs simply shed their shells. To read his report, click here.

However, Kevin McAllister believes that the kill could be caused by one of two things — the red tide or algae that has recently returned to Southampton waters, or pesticides related to mosquito spraying.

"It's hard to say what the cause is without testing. Often times it is pesticides, but it could also be the red tide," he said, adding that whatever the cause, "It is not good news for the bays."

Just this this week, McAllister said, the red tide, which has reappeared in area bays for several years, is responsible for a fish kill in a creek off Flanders Bay.

Red and brown tides, McAllister said, have become a chronic problem.

"We can’t delay anymore," he said. "We can’t sit here and debate this and ignore it for another five or 10 years. The time to act is now."

McAllister has long-advocated for pollution reduction strategies, including a call on Suffolk County to take action when it comes to . He also has fought for the DEC to set numeric quality standards for the bays.

In addition, McAllister said he thinks people should take a closer look at mosquito spraying by the county, to determine if it's both safe for the environment and entirely necessary.

Nancy McGrath of Hampton Bays, who spotted the crabs at the end of Corwin Lane on Thursday evening, said she was saddened by the site.

"In my 50-plus years of being on the water here in Southampton Town, I have never seen this kind of die-off before. I'm sure there are other areas of Shinnecock beaches where this is happening, unfortunately. It's a very sad day for our bays."

Captain Morgann August 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Why doesn't the Peconic Bay Keeper have any idea after umpteen millions of donated money spent and lord knows how many years with the hand out at local benefits - but we've still got crabs washing up on shore and its ''anyone's guess''. It could be red tide, sewage, pesticides, time to fess up - nobody knows after 400 years of living on the shore. One thing the Peconic Bay Keeper does seem to know and we've heard it for ever "we can't delay" and "the time to act is now" - which translates to send $$. Find some real scientists, stop it with all the yokels who think that being a pain in the arse in Albany makes one a marine science expert - we need and deserve the best experts money can buy out here - we pay dearly for this and end up with a bunch of guessing head scratchers that look like they are extras on the set of Hair, in charge of our waters. Whats that about?
n.mcgrath August 09, 2012 at 10:45 PM
thankyou for the good comment captain morgan.
Samantha Paitakis August 09, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I agree with Captain Morgan.... I have a feeling chemtrails are also part of the problem along with global warming. As the ocean floors are heating up and changing to include new and dangerous species of parasites and such.
Jaguar-Guy August 10, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Maybe they got too close to the Reservation and were shot ???
Meadow Lane August 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Capt Morgann - The Baykeeper? Give me a break, this is the responsibility of the Town, County, State and Federal government and should be funded with the vast resources and investigated using the vast equipment and scientists at their disposal. The problem is that the leadership at the Town Board level is non-existant when it comes to our environment. The best example is this damn bag ban that the merchants have no problem with, but is now being blocked by a few big campaign contributors. When Town Board members don't give a damn about whether their own children will have healthy seafood on their tables and local waters to swim in, you can bet our waters will NEVER be cleaned up before our generation is buried in the ground. They just gave away 1,000 reusable shopping bags to a population of 50,000 year-round residents as an alternative to banning plastic bags. Do you expect greater intelligence to solve the mystery here? God help us and God help our environment, because nobody else EXCEPT the good Baykeeper and Town Trustees give a damn.
Meadow Lane August 10, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Now, that's more likely. LOL. I'm glad you can keep your sense of humor.
christie nicolle August 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
News Alert: not to take away from crabs... if you're in Manhattan tonight, go see "2016" -- the movie!! The film Obama does not want you to see! Where: Regal Union Square - 14th St., (212) 253-6266
Postman Sharp August 10, 2012 at 03:32 PM
During every Presidential campaign, a couple of films are released that attempt to sway the outcome of the election -- yet it would be hard to prove that any of them has ever had a significant influence. These diatribes usually speak to true believers and have no impact on the opposition. That will undoubtedly be the fate of 2016 Obama’s America, a film created by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza (who got his start in politics working in the Reagan White House) with the aim of demonstrating the dire consequences of a second Obama term. The film has already opened in the friendly territory of Texas and will be released in the rest of the country this month, where it will make few waves at the box office or at the polling booth. I'd rather spend my time at the beach in a healthy atmosphere of intelligent conversation than in a movie theater watching a propoganda film.
christie nicolle August 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
"2016" cannot compare to the propaganda Obama machine will keep giving if you don't wake up the sheeple.
Meadow Lane August 10, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Christie Nicolle - Are you referring to the "sheep" who global investment advisors conned into buying BILLIONS of dollars worth of dirivities and then brought the credit and equities market crashing down when they were found to be WORTHLESS...all while Bush read upside down nursery rhymes to kindergarten children...he certainly was at the head of that class, wasn't he? Now you want to lead the American sheep once again into more troubled waters so you can pick their pockets again. What is your plot this time? A food shortage, running prices irreversibly high, just as you Con-serv-yourselves did with oil, plywood, cement and everything else you touched to run 3 wars? Give it up sister, American are on to Altschuler and Romney...it won't happen again!
christie nicolle August 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Meadow Lane, talk about dead crabs.... give Bush credit after 911 we did not get attacked again... what has Obama done for America? -- Absolutely nothing! See the film "2016"!!
Meadow Lane August 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I give credit to Obama for blasting Al Qaeda to pieces, not to Bush who only talked about "Mission Accomplished". "W" will go down as the worst US President in the 21st Century; a title well earned.

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