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Red tide closes all oyster harvesting in Texas

Red tide algae bloom closes oyster harvesting in Texas coastal waters, spurs health concerns By The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) ' An algae bloom that has painted chunks of Texas' coast a reddish brown has forced state health officials to ban oyster harvesting before the season begins.

The Department of State Health Services said Wednesday it was banning commercial and recreational harvesting of oysters, clams and mussels because the "red tide" algae bloom contains a toxin that can lead to shellfish poisoning in humans.

The algae boom, which is typically present along Texas' coast beginning in September, is worse this year because of a historic drought and unprecedented heat. It will harm Texas' $217 million-a-year commercial oyster industry.

Meredith Byrd, a Texas Parks and Wildlife marine biologist, says rain and cold temperatures are needed to kill the algae.

Officials will monitor the situation by taking water samples and testing oyster tissue.

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