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DEC Rules Out Pesticides as Cause of Crab Kill; Trustee, Baykeeper Disagree

Investigation into the death of hundreds of crabs continues.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says it has ruled out pesticides as the cause of death for hundreds of blue crabs that .

According to Lori Severino, a press officer for the DEC, there were no pesticide applications during the time the kill was reported.

Severino said, however, the DEC is still testing plankton samples that were collected to better determine the cause of the kill that was reported on Aug. 7.

During the investigation, Severino said the DEC recorded about 100 juvenile horseshoe crab molts (discarded shells due to growth) and 96 dead blue crabs of varying size and sex along the high tide line at the end of Corwin Lane in Hampton Bays. Officials tested the water to find that the temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen along the sea wall were all within normal ranges, he said.

The same was true at the end of Little Neck Road and at the end of Cemetery Road within the , where crabs were also reported washed up.

"The temperature and salinity were both in the normal range," at both locations, Severino said.

At Little Neck Road, the DEC said it found some 79 juvenile horseshoe crab molts and 12 dead blue crabs. And at the end of Cemetery Road, there were more than 900 juvenile horseshoe crab molts and 100 dead blue crabs of varying size and sex.

Southampton Trustee Eric Shultz conducted his own investigation and reported that much of what he witnessed were molts, which is a normal occurrence. However, he said, he did see a number of dead crabs.

Shultz said he has since learned that there was a pesticide application on Meadow Lane on July 31, just a few days prior to the kill.

"From the DEC's numbers, it seems that there were more dead crabs as opposed to molts in that area," he said.

Shultz said he is still investigating the types of chemicals that were used, but said commercial fishermen on the bay have reported that after a spraying, they notice die offs of crabs.

As to the dead crabs at Tiana, Shultz believes they were from the same kill at the Shinnecock Reservation.

"The crabs possibility came in on the tide from the same incident and ended up in Tiana," he said.

The Kevin McAllister, the Peconic Baykeeper, who said he did not personally investigate the kill, believes that the DEC is "ruling out pesticides merely to cover themselves."

"The DEC, of course, is going to deny pesticides," he said. "Pesticide approval falls within their laps for regulation."

McAllister said he cannot say for sure what killed the crabs, but said pesticides could absolutely be a cause.

"Hell yeah, pesticides kill crabs," he said.

McAllister also offered that , an algae, which has made a reappearance in local waters, could also be blamed.

Calls to Suffolk County Vector Control, which oversees mosquito spraying, were not immediately returned.

Ralebird August 14, 2012 at 06:13 PM
So McAllister has absolutely no idea what caused the crabs to die but is blaming the DEC and pesticides with not one scintilla of evidence. He shall now be known as the BSKeeper.
Liz Jackson August 14, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Were there any photos taken to provide actual proof these weren't ALL/MAINLY molted shells from both horseshoe crab & bluecrab? I know historically I would assume a horsehoe crab on the beach meant it died, meanwhile this is in fact the HEIGHT of molting season! It's really a good thing..means they are out and about growing bigger.
PJ Delia August 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Is pesticide application just before a die-off merely a coincidence not to be investigated?
Peconic BSKeeper August 14, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Are we sure that Kevin McAllister is still even in the country and that his pals aren't just hitting a recording every time someone calls that office for a statement? The board who stands behind someone like this is not worthy of your contributions: The Kevin McAllister, the Peconic Baykeeper, who said he did not personally investigate the kill, believes that the DEC is "ruling out pesticides merely to cover themselves." "The DEC, of course, is going to deny pesticides," he said. "Pesticide approval falls within their laps for regulation." McAllister said he cannot say for sure what killed the crabs, but said pesticides could absolutely be a cause. "Hell yeah, pesticides kill crabs," he said. McAllister also offered that red tide, an algae, which has made a reappearance in local waters, could also be blamed.
n.mcgrath August 15, 2012 at 01:20 PM
yes there are pictures and they smelled and they are and were full.I have been a life long resident and i am familiar with moulting crabs and lobsters.
Frances Genovese August 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM
That's right attack the messenger. This is the same malingering DEC that "ruled out" that horrific stench, falling black ash, spontaneous fires and house-breaking vibrations were caused by the disgusting 13-acre Guillo composting & asphalt smashing operation which they enabled. They never saw anything, smelled anything, or felt anything, and never issued a single violation in 25+ years of "monitoring". McAllister is right. 80% of their efforts go to covering their asses; the other 20% to wasting taxpayer dollars. DEC = Deadheads Enabling Chaos.
T818 August 15, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Not the pesticides? Sure and it was safe to breath within miles of two 107 + floor buildings that were crumpled to the ground with two fully fueled Boeing 767s.

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