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Texas Fishery Closed, Oysters Recalled

State

Oysters | Image by Shutterstock

Texas health officials have issued a recall for oysters harvested in Galveston Bay due to gastrointestinal issues caused by consumption.

This recall includes both oysters in their shells and those that have been shucked, which were harvested in the area between November 17 and December 7.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) subsequently closed the TX-1 fishing area to harvesting on December 8, according to a press release on December 9. DSHS included a map of the relevant area, which can be accessed here.

The DSHS closed this facility after it had received reports from health departments in Florida and Southeast Texas that people who had consumed oysters harvested from this area had fallen ill. Reported symptoms included fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, chills, and headaches.

DSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen said the agency received reports of illness from more than 40 people who consumed oysters from the TX-1 and TX-5 harvest areas in Galveston Bay between November 17 and December 2, according to The Houston Chronicle.

As of the writing of this article, no hospitalizations have been reported, and no other forms of seafood have been affected.

DSHS officials advise businesses and consumers to dispose of any oysters from TX-1 purchased since November 17.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has closed 20 of the state’s 29 oyster reefs for the recreational and commercial harvesting season, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The TPWD announced on December 2 that it would close TX-12 in Matagorda Bay and TX-5 in Galveston Bay effective on December 5 for different reasons. Those closings were because of a low abundance of legal-sized oysters based on samples collected.

The only locations open to public harvesting are TX- 8 in Galveston, TX-11 and TX-19 in Matagorda Bay, TX-33 in Corpus Christi Bay, TX-34 in Lower Laguna Madre, and TX- 29 in Arkansas Bay.

Misho Ivic, the owner of Gilhooley’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in San Leon, said he is forced to source oysters from other locations, such as Louisiana and Virginia, due to widespread closures and is anticipating higher prices and shipping costs.

“Everyone will have to do the same thing … we’ll have to get oysters from different areas,” Ivic said.

DSHS officials and local health departments are investigating illness cases.

Additionally, DSHS officials will test the water in the recall area to determine when oyster harvesting can safely resume.

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