Calendar

Directory

Documents

Report

Seniors

WRAP

A Message from the Supervisor

“Welcome to Islip, the 3rd largest town in New York State, but with an endearing small town feel. We are so proud of our town…our beaches, golf courses, marinas, parks, housing opportunities for all, businesses, industrial parks, healthcare and educational institutions including our own Islip MacArthur Airport that provides many job opportunities. I sincerely hope you find this website helpful.” - Angie

An image of the outside of the shellfish facility, with rows of cultivation equipment in the foreground.

The Town of Islip is dedicated to the responsible development of the aquaculture industry, while expanding our marine-based economy, enhancing our shellfish production and improving the water quality of the Great South Bay.

The Great South Bay Shellfish Cultivation Facility produces the highest quality shellfish and seaweed products for growers and distributors throughout the country. Our hatchery plays a vital role in meeting the needs of the aquaculture community and ensures the continuation of the tradition of farming on the Great South Bay.

History

The Great South Bay was once a thriving environment for shellfish, producing more than half of the nation’s shellfish.

In the 1980’s the Great South Bay began to see a steady and significant decline in shellfish production due in part to over harvesting and algae blooms such as brown tide.

In 1985 the Town of Islip established a Division of Bay Management and Shellfish Management that included the development of a shellfish culture facility to help augment the spawning of oysters and clams.

Despite the Town’s best efforts to reseed the bay with clams and oysters; in 2009 the Town established the Bay Bottom Aquaculture Leasing Program, which encompasses 125 acres of Town-owned bay bottom. The intent of the program is to have individuals with experience in shellfish cultivation that are committed to promote the overall health of the Great South Bay’s ecosystem thru sustainable farming.

The Town of Islip’s Shellfish Cultivation Facility and the Bay Bottom Program focuses on restoring the value of the Great South Bay’s historical success.

a wooden pathway through the reeds and over the dunes, disappearing with the vanishing point into the horizon, where the ocean lays

Bay Bottom Aquaculture Licensing Program

The Town of Islip has an established Bay Bottom Licensing Program, which encompasses over 100 acres of Town-owned Bay Bottom in the Town of Islip. License Parcels were approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and range in size from 1 to 5 acres.

The Program is a partnership of government, local business and individuals working together to manage parcels of underwater land in the Great South Bay to grow oysters, hard clams, bay scallops and kelp.

The intent of the Program is to have individuals with experience in shellfish cultivation that are committed to promote the overall health of the Great South Bay’s ecosystem thru sustainable farming. Additionally, the Program has proven successful as a boost to the local economy, and to those farmers who license bay bottom parcels for aquaculture. Once grown, the harvest is disbursed, marketed and sold to local restaurants and retail/wholesale establishments.

The Town currently has a waiting list for future available parcels. To place your name on the waiting list, contact the Department of Environmental Control (DEC), by clicking HERE, or by calling the DEC at (631) 595-3630.

Phase III Expansion Proposal

To further the successes of Phase I & II of the Bay Bottom Aquaculture Licensing Program, the Town is proposing to expand the program to include an additional 1,569 acres of bay bottom south of East Islip. The new area referred to as Phase III will open land historically farmed for shellfish, and will have a positive impact on the south shore estuary. The new cultivation site will consist of 134 parcels, all 10 acres in size and 60 foot boundaries between them. Applicants will be selected from the Town’s Bay Bottom Waiting List. The Town of Islip Department of Environmental Control (DEC) staff will require interface to discuss their business plan and the ability to operate a shellfish farm within the requirements of the Town, State and Federal Government’s regulations.

The DEC will be applying to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of State Division of Coastal Resources for the appropriate permits. This regulatory process is subject to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The Town of Islip has declared lead agency status and will be assessing the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of this action.

The environmental benefits of the expansion of Phase III are multi-faceted. The most apparent benefit to the sizable Phase III expansion will be a significant volume of bay water filtered as a result of the addition of millions of shellfish to the cultivation site. Biofiltration by shellfish is an acknowledged method of algae population control, which improves water quality. One of the most significant dangers to the health of the bay and its ecosystem is the Brown Tide algae species, (Aureococcus anophagefferens). Brown tide blooms consume all available nutrients in the water column, blocks available light for sea grasses and phytoplankton, and severely impedes the survival and reproduction of shellfish populations.

Lack of algae filtration can reduce hard clam and oyster survival, which in turn reduces the shellfish population even more. Unfiltered algae blooms can also contribute to anoxic conditions, which lead to fish kills. Therefore, a healthy shellfish population can be a factor in maintaining healthy finfish populations as well. Having cages and trays on the bay bottom also provides protection and a habitat for small fish, crabs and other marine life, which increases the biodiversity of the bay.

Another environmental benefit of having millions of clams and oysters growing in the same location is they will spawn and provide larvae to set up in the bay. The Town has received feedback from Growers in Phase I and Phase II that they are finding natural set oysters in the areas around the cultivation site. Oysters from this program are naturally spawning, reproducing and are showing up on our shorelines. This will have a direct positive effect on our natural resource by enhancing the wild fishery. The filtering capacity from culturing these shellfish in Islip waters is enormous. The millions of shellfish grown at the Facility and placed at the Phase I and II cultivation site are naturally and efficiently filtering 330-550 million gallons a day of the Great South Bay’s water. The filtering reduces the turbidity, improves light penetration, reduces anoxia and improves the overall water quality.

Due to the Phase III site’s deeper waters and closer proximity to the shoreline, the Town’s license conditions will differ from the more shallow and secluded waters of Phase I and II. Floating gear will be prohibited. On-bottom culture methods will be the only permissible form of aquaculture at the site. Gear visible on the surface of the water will be limited to four (4) corner buoys; (whereas Phase I and II allowed for on and off bottom culture with floating gear). All gear must be submerged, and motorized mechanical means will continue to be prohibited. The purpose of these restrictive conditions is to minimize the visibility of the cultivation site.

As the Town of Islip deliberates the expansion for Phase III, the DEC has expanded its public outreach campaign to obtain input from any person or business who may have a unique or specialized point of view on the proposal. Additionally, the Town Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the expansion of Phase III on March 10, 2020 with a 30 day period to then allow for subsequent public comments and considerations.

If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list or submitting comment on the expansion proposal please call the DEC at (631) 595-3630.

Waiting List for Bay Bottom Licensing




Current Waiting List for Bay Bottom Licensing


Educational Programs

Educational opportunities are available in the form of open house tours and school field trips, as well as educational displays at community functions.

Please contact the hatchery for more information.

3 images side by side, the first with an open palm and sand, the second with hands cupped and tiny shells, the third with a fullgrown adult oyster pinched between 3 fingers

Oyster and Clam Seed Sales

The Town of Islip sells oyster and clam seed from our own shellfish cultivation facility. Thirty years of experience go into the careful growth of the larvae into various sizes to meet the individual needs of shellfish farmers.

Size (mm) Oysters/ 1,000 Clams/ 1,000
2.0 – 3.0 $11.00 $14.00
3.1 – 4.0 $13.00 $15.00
4.1 – 5.0 $16.00 $19.00
5.1 – 8.0 $21.00 $23.00
8.1 – 11.0 $25.00 $28.50
11.1 – 16.0 Upon Request Upon Request
16.1 – 25.0 Upon Request Upon Request


Payments: Full payment is due at the time of pick-up. All sales must be PAID IN FULL before product will be released. Payments can be made payable to the Town of Islip by check. Cash will not be accepted.

Orders for Pick-up: When the order is ready for pick up, a hatchery staff member will notify you.

Orders for Delivery: When full payment has been received, a hatchery staff member will assist with scheduling a shipment of your order.

Maps

a satellite image of the aquaculture lease parcels off the cost of sandy island

Photos

Partnerships

The Great South Bay Shellfish Culture Facility partners with several government agencies, local non-profit organizations and educational institutions to further our goal of improving the health of the Great South Bay.

Long Island Oyster Growers Association

Cornell Cooperative

Stony Brook University

NYS DEC

Army Corps of Engineers

Fire Island National Seashore


Back to Department of Environmental Control