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Facility to Study Diseases of Shellfish in Long Island Sound

STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 3, 2000—State legislators announced today the —funding of $1 million for the creation and staffing of a pathology laboratory at the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) at the University at Stony Brook to study the cause of the lobster die-off in Long Island Sound, as well as other diseases plaguing local shellfish and finfish.

The laboratory, a key element of the newly created Marine Disease Consortium that was established by state legislation earlier this year, will be located at the MSRC on the Stony Brook campus.

The creation of the new facility was made possible by local state legislators who acted in response to the 1999 lobster die-off in Long Island Sound. State Senators James Lack, Ken LaValle, Carl Marcellino, and Owen Johnson, and Assemblymen Steven Englebright and James Conte joined in making the announcement along with Shirley Strum Kenny, President of the University at Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson.

It is vital to the economy and to the community that we have a facility “that provides us with the capability to do this important research, and Stony Brook is just the right place to do it,” Kenny said. “The “legislators deserve credit for getting this funding and taking this critical step to protect an industry that is vital to Long Island and the state.”

The funding makes it possible to study first-hand and on-site diseases that impact on shellfish—including lobsters, clams, and oysters—and —finfish in local waters. Currently, pathology is performed at out-of-state laboratories. More than 900 lobstermen statewide were impacted by the 1999 lobster die-off in Long Island Sound and the harvesting of lobsters is a $100 million industry annually in the state, and No. 1 in commercial fishing.

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