GALVESTON — State health officials have reopened Galveston Bay for shellfish harvesting more than a month after it was closed because of a harmful algae. 

“The Galveston Bay system reopened to oyster, clam and mussel harvesting over the weekend,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Chris Van Deusen said. “We received test results that showed the shellfish were again safe for human consumption.”

The bay was closed to harvesting March 13 after the health department detected elevated levels of Dinophysis algae. The algae can become toxic when consumed by shellfish. Eating infected shellfish could cause vomiting, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. Fish and other marine life were unaffected.

The increase in the harmful algae is thought to be caused by drought. A lack of rain decreases the amount of fresh water coming into the bay from tributaries and increases the bay’s salinity, creating a more welcoming environment for the algae.

Van Deusen said that bans have not been lifted on closures that were activated March 28 in area from Matagorda Bay to Corpus Christi Bay.

The closures are unrelated to the March 22 oil spill in Galveston Bay.

 

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson@galvnews.com

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