Oyster Harvesting Closed Along Portions of Texas Coast

News Release
News Release
October 29, 2015

News Release
Oct. 29, 2015

The Texas Departmentof State Health Services announced today that commercial and recreational oysterharvesting in most areas of Texas coastal waters will be closed on Nov. 1 due toexcessive rainfall or red tide, depending on the area. Normally, the public canharvest oysters from Nov. 1 through April 30.

Christmas Bay andcertain areas of Galveston Bay will be open for oyster harvesting on Nov. 1.All other areas along the coast will be closed to commercial and recreationalharvesting of oysters, clams and mussels until further notice.

Red tide has beendetected along the Texas coastline from Matagorda Bay to South Padre Island. Elevatedor excessive rainfall has also contributed to the closure of oyster harvestingin some of these areas and in portions of Galveston Bay.

DSHS is advisingpeople not to harvest and eat oysters, clams, mussels or whelks taken fromthese waters. While visual signs of red tide have not been seen lately insome areas, the toxin produced by the red tide algae can remain in the edibletissue of shellfish for several weeks to several months. The toxins can causeneurotoxic shellfish poisoning, or NSP, in humans who consume them. NSP symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, dilated pupils andtingling sensations in the extremities.

Oysters taken fromwaters closed due to elevated or excessive rainfall can be contaminated with bacteriaand viruses and consuming them can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such asdiarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Oysters being sold inthe current market place are not affected. The warning does not apply to othertypes of seafood such as shrimp, finfish, crabs or to commercial seafoodproducts from other states or countries.

DSHS will continuetesting in the closed areas and will open areas to harvesting when it is safeto do so. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also has authority to closeareas to oyster harvesting based on oyster size and availability. To determinethe current status of shellfish harvesting areas call the DSHS 24-hourharvesting information line, 1-800-685-0361, for updates. Harvesters areencouraged to get shellfish harvesting maps from the nearest Texas Parks andWildlife Department office or DSHS at www.dshs.state.tx.us/sites/default/files/seafood/shellfish-harvest-maps.aspx

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(NewsMedia Contact: Christine Mann, DSHS Press Officer, 512-776-7511)

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