Red tide closes all oyster harvesting in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Health officials have closed all oyster harvesting from Texas coastal waters due to the algae bloom known as red tide.

The Department of State Health Services on Wednesday announced the ban on commercial and recreational harvesting of oysters, clams and mussels. The agency is also advising people not to harvest and eat oysters, clams, or mussels from Texas coastal waters.

The bloom contains a toxin that can lead to shellfish poisoning in humans. Spokeswoman Christine Mann says there's no time frame for the harvesting closure as state officials monitor the red tide.

The public can normally harvest oysters from November through April. Experts say the red tide, present along Texas since early September, has killed at least 3 million fish. The algae thrive in warm, salty water.

Copyright 2011 AP.  All Rights Reserved.