Texas coastal waters close to shellfish harvesting

April 23, 2010 at 5 p.m.
Updated April 23, 2010 at 11:24 p.m.

An algal bloom led to the closure of many Texas coastal waters to the harvesting of shellfish, The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Friday.

The affected area extends from Galveston to Port Aransas. Commercial and recreational harvesters should not harvest oysters, clams or mussels from the closed areas.

Some algal blooms produce harmful toxins. Consuming the toxic shellfish may cause diarrheic shellfish poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and cramping. The condition is not life-threatening and typically free of long-term effects.

State officials know of no health issues associated with people being in water containing the algae.

Texas shellfish harvested before today's closure do not pose an elevated health risk, according to the state.

Cooking does not destroy the toxin. The toxin does not affect other seafood, such as shrimp and crab.

The Texas Department of State Health Services will continue to monitor the movement of the organism.

Oyster tissue will be tested to determine when safe harvesting can resume.

The public oyster season ends Friday. When no closure is in effect, oyster harvesting is allowed year round on private oyster leases in Galveston Bay.



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