Bay Briefings - Seafood Consumption Advisories
Galveston Bay Estuary Program
MetadataShow full item record
Contamination of fish and shellfish in some areas of Galveston Bay and its tributaries poses a health risk to consumers of these seafoods. The contaminants may be either chemicals or pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Determining what areas of the bay system contain contaminated seafood and advising the public on how to limit those risks are the responsibility of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). This state agency (formerly the Texas Department of Health) takes seafood samples from water bodies throughout the state, sends the tissue to laboratories, and-based on the laboratory results- determines the degree of risk for consumption. If contaminant levels are very high, the DSHS makes it illegal to possess certain seafood from certain areas. More commonly, the DSHS advises the general public to limit the number of fish eaten or advises pregnant women or children to eliminate certain fish from their diets. For contaminated oysters, the DSHS will close or restrict the areas of harvesting.