Fear Not the Red Tide, and Go Eat Some Oysters

The oystermen of Galveston Bay can't get a break. First the Texas drought raised the salinity of the water they fished, then changes to water rights regulations threatened to keep it there. Now they're unable to harvest until otherwise notified.

Yesterday the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a press release announcing that oyster harvesting in all Texas coastal waters is closed due to red tide, an algal bloom of Karenia brevis. The ban will remain in place till DSHS determines shellfish from the waters is safe.

Area restaurants are nervous, too. My inbox is flooded with emails explaining the sourcing of every bit of seafood they serve. To be clear, the ban does not effect all seafood harvested from Texas' shores. "Seafood such as shrimp, finfish, crabs or commercial seafood products from other states or countries" are still perfectly safe, according to the DSHS.

Oysters from elsewhere in the Gulf are fine, too. Herb Story over at S&D Oyster Company is serving Louisiana oysters at the moment, so don't let the DSHS ban stop you from joining them for lunch. And TJ's Seafood Market is all east coast right now. They've currently got some barnstables, a chubby little number all the way from the coast of Massachusetts.

Bottom line: Don't let a little red tide curb your seafood consumption. Just ask your restaurants and markets where they're sourcing there ingredients and order accordingly.

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