The following is a reprint of information posted on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website
REPORTING RED TIDE
To report fish kills or suspected red tides 24 hours a day, call the Texas parks and Wildlife Department at (512) 389-4848 (Austin) or (281) 842-8100 (Houston).
To learn more about red tide and to check current red tide locations, go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hab/.
- People with respiratory problems may be especially affected by aerosolized toxins during red tides. If red tide-affected areas cannot be avoided by these individuals, they should use a short-acting inhaler. If you have symptoms, leave the beach and seek air conditioning. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
- Symptoms common when breathing red tide toxins include coughing, sneezing, and watery, burning eyes; these are usually temporary and may be lessened by wearing a particle filter mask or using over-the- counter antihistamines. Check the marine forecast. Fewer toxins are in the air when the wind is blowing offshore.
- Red tide can also cause skin irritation. If your skin is easily irritated, avoid red tide-affected water. If you experience irritation, get out of the water and thoroughly wash with fresh water.
- Be careful of fish spines and bones on the beach. Puncture wounds can get infected. Infections appearing after contact with coastal waters should be checked by a doctor. Swimming near dead fish is not recommended since bacteria levels associated with decomposition may be high.
Red Tide and Seafood Safety
- Brevetoxin is heat-stable and is not killed during the cooking process.
- Commercial seafood found in restaurants and grocery stores is strictly regulated and is harvested from waters free of red tide.
- For recreational anglers fishing in red tide-affected waters:
- Fin fish caught live are safe to eat after being gutted.
- Shrimp and crabs are safe to eat. Though these crustaceans arecommonly referred to as shellfish, they are not affected by red tide.
- It is illegal to harvest distressed or dead animals. Do not touch or eatfish floating on the water or washed up on shore.
- Call theTexas Department of State Health Services at (800)685-0361 for a 24-hour recording of the status of harvesting areas for oysters, clams, whelks, and mussels. Additional questions concerning harvesting areas can be addressed to the Austin central office at (512) 834-6757.
• Clams, mussels, whelks, oysters and other filter-feeding shellfish become toxic during red tides and should not be eaten. They can cause a serious food poisoning in humans called Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning. These shellfish can be toxic without any visible sign of red tide.
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4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744
(800) 792-1112 • http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us
In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. ©2010 by TPWD. PWD CD T3200-0763 (8/10)