Texas to Get Help Responding to an Unusual Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science HAB Event Response Program is providing assistance to a team of researchers and managers coordinated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department responding to an ongoing toxic algal bloom of the species Dinophysis. This species produces the toxin okadaic acid, which can accumulate in shellfish and when consumed can cause Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning.
The bloom and toxin levels measured in oyster samples prompted the State of Texas to close impacted bays and issue a recall of oysters, clams and mussels. While Dinophysis occurs naturally in ocean waters and estuaries, it is not typically found in high numbers along the Texas Gulf Coast.
No reports of illness have yet been reported. NCCOS event response funding will support regular sampling and analysis by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Department of State Health Services, University of Texas Marine Institute, and Texas A&M University. This monitoring will enable the state to determine when it is safe to reopen shellfish beds.