Algae closes Coastal Bend bays to oyster harvest

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An algae bloom that can cause some shellfish to produce a toxin has prompted the state to close Texas coastal bays from Matagorda Bay to Corpus Christi Bay to oyster, clam and mussel harvesting.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says the move is a temporary and precautionary measure after its crews found elevated levels of Dinophysis algae in coastal waters. The toxin it produces can accumulate rapidly in shellfish tissues and cause diarrhea in those who consume them. The condition isn’t life-threatening, but cooking doesn’t destroy the toxin.

The algae bloom doesn’t affect other seafood.

The agency says the closure is unrelated to last weekend’s Houston Ship Channel oil spill. East Matagorda Bay, Lower Laguna Madre and South Bay remain open to shellfish harvesting, which ends April 30.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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