Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fish & Seafood Advisories: Texas and Maine

The Texas Department of State Health Services is advising consumers to limit their consumption of spotted seatrout (also known as speckled trout) and catfish harvested from Galveston Bay, including Chocolate Bay, East Bay, West Bay, Trinity Bay and contiguous waters.

This advisory was issued as a result of a two-year study, which found elevated levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the two species of fish. This notice does not prohibit recreational fishing of these species.

Adults should consume no more than one 8-ounce meal of spotted seatrout or catfish from Galveston Bay a month. Women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant and children should not eat any fish covered by the advisory notice.

Three people from Washington County, Maine were hospitalized with symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning after eating contaminated mussels over the July 4th holiday weekend, according to a news release issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The victims, all of whom are expected to recover fully, harvested the mussels from a rope dangling in the ocean off a pier, rather than from an approved bed. The area where the mussels were gathered had been closed for three weeks due to a red tide.

Maine health authorities advise that mussels and other shellfish can be consumed safely if the following precautions are taken:
  1. Purchase shellfish from a certified shellfish dealer. Their operations undergo rigorous public health screening and auditing.

  2. If harvesting for personal use, make sure the shellfish beds are not closed for red tide. Check the Department of Marine Resources’ website for the latest information on closed areas: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/public_health/closures/pspclosures.htm

  3. Do not consume clams or mussels floating in ocean waters. They are likely to have filtered much more algae-containing water than those from flats or beds, and therefore will usually have much higher concentrations of toxin.

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