New Hope Spot: Shinnecock Bay, NY
Shinnecock Bay on the south shore of Long Island, New York, is being named a new “Hope Spot” by Mission Blue, an international organization that supports the protection of oceans worldwide. This distinction is the result of a decade of restorative and scientific work co-led by Drs. Ellen Pikitch, Christopher Gobler and Bradley Peterson in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University.
Hope Spots are iconic ocean regions that stand out as some of the most pristine on the globe. This places Shinnecock Bay in a league with internationally recognized locations such as the Galapagos Islands, the Sargasso Sea and the Ross Sea in Antarctica. The bay is the first Hope Spot in New York state, the only one near a major metropolitan region, and one of only three others on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
The creation of “hard clam sanctuaries” in western Shinnecock Bay is a pivotal part of the restoration effort of the SoMAS Stony Brook University team. As a result of this work, the dangerous brown and red tides that had been occurring annually have not been observed for several years. Landings of hard clams outside the sanctuaries have increased dramatically and are at a level not seen since the mid-1980s. Numbers of fish in the bay, most notably forage fishes such as bay anchovy and menhaden, have also escalated.